Joy for Worthing rower as he completes Atlantic crossing four years after dramatic rescue

The team of Atlantic rowers, featuring Neal Marsh, far right, who had an aborted attempt in 2013 SUS-171221-162059001
The team of Atlantic rowers, featuring Neal Marsh, far right, who had an aborted attempt in 2013 SUS-171221-162059001

A Worthing man whose dream of rowing the Atlantic came to a devastating end four years ago finally realised his ambition after completing the gruelling crossing on Saturday.

Neal Marsh was forced to abandon his Atlantic adventure in 2013 after horrendous conditions and a broken boat left his teammates needing an emergency helicopter rescue.

But four years on the 49-year-old, together with a quartet of new crew members, celebrated mooring in French Guiana on Saturday – more than two months after setting off from Portugal on the 3,800-mile marathon.

Writing on his Facebook page, which has documented the epic journey, Neal said: “We made it, we defied pretty much all the odds to get here but we did it.”

Neal described the time since his abandoned attempt as ‘frustrating’ – but his love of rowing never diminished.

He completed world record indoor rows for charity on the rowing machine in 2014 and 2017, rowing for 80 and 83 hours non-stop.

He still held a desire to cross the Atlantic, though, and began his second attempt on December 12.

The crew hoped to break 48-day world record for making the crossing but tricky conditions and emergency repair stop-offs in Lanzarote and Cape Verde saw the record slip away.

Another record appears likely to be broken, though. Neal said: “We crossed from Cape Verde to Cayenne in 27days, 16 hours and 20 minutes

“Now we do have this as the Trade Winds 2 world record! Yay! But in fact we have achieved something else.

“We have crossed the Atlantic from continental Africa to South America faster than any other ocean Rowing team. Unofficially because it’s not recognised the same way but the facts are facts no team has crossed the Atlantic faster.”

Neal,a member of Worthing Rowing Club, was joined by Ralph Tuijn, 44, Chris Shirley, 32, Duncan Roy, 27 and Danny O’Brien, also 27, on the crossing.

The team is raising funds for the Royal British Legion and Rowing for Rubicon.