Solo rower warns against 'horrific' Atlantic challenge


THE FIRST Irish man to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean has spoken of his fears that some one will be killed on the challenge which he says was “horrific”.

After spending 118 days at sea Limerick man Seán McGowan was honoured with a mayoral reception in his native city last night.

Speaking about his marathon voyage that was part of the Woodvale Ocean Rowing Race, the 42-year-old said he would advise others against undertaking the challenge.

He stared his journey from La Gomera in the Canaries on January 4th last along with 29 other boats.

However, his race was over within two weeks when a freak wave smashed into the boat damaging it and he spent the remainder of the voyage nursing his boat across the Atlantic.

“The challenge I went through, I’m convinced people are going to be killed at that.

“If you talk to any merchant seaman who has been out on tankers, they thought I was mad. And people will tell you that you are mad but you still do it.

“But I’m convinced that people will be killed at that challenge. It’s horrific out there,” he said. Despite his fears, however, the rower said he would still help anyone determined to take part despite the dangers.

“I would tell them don’t do it that it’s madness and too dangerous but the type of person that’s going to do it, it doesn’t mater what I say they are still going to do it.

“If I recognise that they are that type of person then I’ll help them as much as I can and make sure they are safe,” he continued.

Since returning home, McGowan, who lost four stone while out at sea, has been enjoying plenty of steak dinners.

“The only thing I’m staying away from is fish,” he joked.

The father-of-four also said he prayed every day that he would return home safely to his wife Lorraine and his children.

“At least three to four times I was full sure that my time was up. I got dragged out of the boat twice and when the boat capsized I definitely thought about it because I had a couple of hours fighting to keep the boat afloat,” he recalled.

When he finally arrived on dry land, he said the hardest thing to get used to was walking.