Atlantic Rowing Records Fall

Lee Spencer

British amputee, Lee Spencer, has arrived in Cayenne, French Guiana, to complete the fastest solo Atlantic crossing from continent to continent.

The former British Commando took 60 days to complete the 7,000km crossing, smashing the able-bodied record by an incredible 36 days. Spencer left Portimao, Portugal on January 9 but was forced to stop in the Canary Islands to fix his navigation system on January 22. He set out again on January 26 and arrived in French Guiana on March 11. The layover disqualified him from also claiming an unsupported record.

Lee Spencer arriving in French Guiana. Photo: The Rowing Marine

The previous able-bodied record for the east to west route was 96 days, 12 hours and 45 minutes, by Stein Hoff in 2002.

Spencer became the first amputee to cross the Atlantic as part of a four-man team in 2016. He has managed to raise more than $72,000 for the Royal Marines Charity and the Endeavour Fund.

This latest achievement gives him three ocean rowing records: the fastest solo row from Europe to South America, the first physically disabled person to row an ocean solo from continent to continent and the longest solo row by a physically disabled person.

After surviving three tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, Spencer lost his left leg in a car accident in 2014.

Hyperion Atlantic Challenge Team

British rowers Alex Simpson and Jamie Gordon rowed their boat Storm Adventures into Port St Charles, Barbados this week to claim a new world speed record for an east-to-west Atlantic crossing.

Simpson and Gordon arrive in Barbados. Photo: Hyperion Atlantic Challenge

The pair left Gran Canaria on January 29 and rowed 4,800km in 37 days, 17 hours and 43 minutes at an average speed of 2.875 knots. The pair beat the previous speed record for Open Class Pairs boats, set last year by fellow Brits Jon Armstrong and Jordan Beecher. They rowed 4,700km from La Gomera to Antigua in 37 days 8 hours and 8 minutes at an average speed of 2.845 knots. The speed record is determined by the fastest average speed.

Simpson, 27, became the youngest person to row across an ocean three times. He previously rowed the Indian Ocean as part of a four-man team in 71 days, also setting a speed record, and crossed the Atlantic as part of a four-man US/UK team in 35 days.

Jamie Gordon, left, & Alex Simpson. Photo Hyperion Atlantic Challenge

This was Gordon’s first attempt at ocean rowing, but he previously competed twice in the Henley Royal Regatta, representing the University of Manchester.