Irish pair setting records on Sara G


ROWING:TWO IRISHMEN have set a world record. Rob Byrne from Bray and Adam Langton Burke from Skerries are crew members of the ocean rowing boat Sara G, which covered 100 miles or more for the last 12 days, the first ocean rowing boat to do this. The feat beats by three days the record set by the 14-man crew of La Mondiale in 2007/2008.

The six-man crew of the Sara G, captained by Englishman Matt Craughwell, have the higher goal of beating La Mondiale’s record for the fastest time in rowing across the Atlantic – and they are on course.

As of yesterday, their 15th at sea, they had covered 1,484 miles (2,388km) and had 1,778 miles (2,861km) to go. If they can keep up this pace they could break the absolute record of 33 days, seven hours and 30 minutes set by La Mondiale.

As Sara G is travelling farther than La Mondiale (from Morocco to Barbados, as distinct from the Canaries to Barbados) they will be adjudged by the Ocean Rowing Society, the competent body, to have broken the record for fastest row if they cross in under 35 days and six hours.

Byrne, a member of the coastal club in Bray, rowed with Craughwell in an unsuccessful attempt to traverse the Atlantic on La Mondiale in 2009. Burke is a multi-sport enthusiast and this is his first big rowing challenge.

The other members of the crew are Thomas Cremona from Malta, Fiann Paul from Iceland and Graham Carlin from Britain.

The Sara G is part of an exciting race to claim the blue riband trophy for the feat of crossing the Atlantic at record speed. Hallin Marine, a six-person British crew, are in a close battle with Sara G and could break the record.

Two other crews are also targeting the prize. The 15-person Big Blue, which like Sara G left from Morocco, was five days on the water yesterday, and the 14-person Britannia III has been on standby in Gran Canaria.

The record of 33 days, seven hours and 30 minutes was set by La Mondiale, which began its journey in Gran Canaria on December 15th, 2007, and reached Port St Charles in Barbados on January 17th, 2008. Its 14-man crew was captained by Briton Leven Brown and included Irishmen Peter Donaldson, Reinhardt von Hof and Ray Carroll.

Back in Ireland, the Sligo head of the river is set for tomorrow, while a new entity, the Phoenix Rowing Club, based in the Municipal Rowing Club in Islandbridge, hopes to entice rowers back into the sport on a recreational basis.