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Worthing Atlantic rowing crew rescued
A rowing team dramatically rescued from the Atlantic have told how they spent Christmas frantically trying to salvage their stricken vessel.
Team Atlantic Splash’s 3,000-mile challenge across the ocean came to an abrupt end when storms battered the hardy rowers five days into the race.
Their boat called Missy sprang a leak and the team had to be airlifted to safety. But the Worthing trio of Neal Marsh, 44, Bastien LeClair, 30, and Tom Hyland, 24, returned to the stormy seas in a yacht to launch a failed bid to salvage their boat.
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Writing on his team’s blog, Mr Marsh said: “Tom was convinced he caught a glimpse of her orange and white hull briefly.
“We circled the area but nothing.
We remained close to Missy’s track until sunrise, around 7.30am and followed other new fixes in rough conditions getting more and more frustrated.
“We think it was just the conditions that led to the failure of a sighting and it was not getting better. We calculated we would probably need to get within at least half a mile to see her.
“It never happened and we had to accept that she was lost to the sea.”
Their efforts were frustrated by a catalogue of obstacles including dodgy charter negotiations, absent skippers and the stomach-churning crashing of sea waves.
He said: “One wave to remember pitched the boat to 45 degrees with the three of us lumped together on to one side of the boat.
“It was a balancing game with the wave washing over the deck whilst we were adjusting the main sail with the aft winches.”
Nicknamed Missy, the plywood and fibreglass vessel would have celebrated her tenth birthday in 2014.
The pair did manage to recover a boat that was abandoned by the AstroSweden team and tow it back to the Canary Islands.
Sixteen teams, including Team Atlantic Splash, started the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge on December 4.
Mr Marsh, Mr Hyland, and Mr Leclair, joined Marc Alderman, 28, from Folkestone, Kent, and Terry Munson, 27, from Essex.
The challenge is expected to take about 50 days and also features the Row2Recovery team crewed by four soldiers, including two who lost limbs in Afghanistan.
It is billed as the world’s toughest rowing race.
The team hoped to raise £200,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Tall Ships Youth Trust, the British Heart Foundation and the Macular Society.
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