Dynamic graduates set record for youngest duo to row the Atlantic

They even grew great beards

A pair of fearless grads have become the youngest duo to row across the Atlantic.

Plymouth grad Tom Rainey, 24, and Lawrence Walters, 23, who studied at Southampton completed their epic journey yesterday at 4.50pm

Both were relieved to be home and proud to be entering into the record books.

Tom said: “I’m really tired out, I’m knackered.

“There is nothing left of our muscles, rowing has eaten them away.

“We were running out of food for weeks, and ran out completely today, so we have had little to eat for weeks, and nothing at all today, so I’m really hungry, and really thirsty.

“It feels great, overwhelming even, to have accomplished this. I’m really glad to be back, but I’ll miss it slightly.”

Tom thinks the long 4,000 mile 93 day slog across the Atlantic Ocean brought the friends closer together.

Tom Rainey(R) and Lawrence Walters(L) return back to Salcombe, Devon, having rowed from New York (USA) on the Ocean Valour. Tom Rainey and Lawrence Walters are set to break the world record for being the youngest people to row across the Atlantic.  See swns story SWROW

Tom (right) and Lawrence (left) celebrating on their arrival in Devon

The duo undertook the challenge to raise £250,000 for the Brian Tumour Charity, in honour of Tom’s father, Luke, who died of a brain tumour in 2012.

Tom added: “There were no distractions out there, no internet, nothing; it was a more natural life. If it wasn’t for the pain it would be really good.

“It’s brought me and Lawrence closer together for sure, going through it all together.

“It was great to see great whites, and going through a hurricane was memorable and scary, probably the scariest moment of my life.

“I’m really looking forward to sitting down and eating loads of food, drinking lots of beer, and not falling over.

“it’s hard to comprehend it at the minute, I can’t believe its over.

“I hope my dad would be proud. The welcome home was ridiculous, that will be a memorable moment.”

Tom and Lawrence before they set off in New York

Tom and Lawrence before they set off in New York

Lawrence said: “I’m doing well – I think, but a bit wobbly on my feet.

“It was really tough, we fought really hard.

“I think if we knew what it entailed before we set out; we would have done it differently.

“We were so na?ve when we went into it, but that’s the only way to do it.

“I’ve learnt a lot about myself – I struggled mentally, and my body started to shut down.

“I had no energy reserves left, and you can’t replenish them until you get back to land because food is so short.

“We had some of the best times in the last few days when we knew we were going home.

“We had thousands of people here to greet us home; it was the most amazing home coming.

“I’m over the moon – I can’t believe what we have achieved.

“It’s great to have got the two records; it’s an amazing feeling to get something in the record books.

“I’m really looking forward to having some dry clothes, drinking a cup of tea, and eating some bangers and mash.”

Together they make up team Ocean Valour, and on the course of their non-stop journey they have battled hurricanes, monster waves, hallucinations and a brutal capsize.

Tom hoped his dad would have been proud

Tom hoped his dad would have been proud

But now they are the youngest people to have ever completed the journey, taking a time of 93 days.

The two-man team consists of Tom, a hydro-graphic surveyor from Dartmoor, Devon, and Lawrence, a 23-year-old boat design engineer from Hampshire.

Tom’s dad Luke, who was a keen sailor, died suddenly at the age of 56, having only been diagnosed with the tumour for less than a year.

The family were torn apart, and Tom, who turned 24 while on the journey, decided to undertake this massive expedition in honour of his late father.

They want to use the money raised to fund an early detection programme for the charity, to help prevent other families losing loved ones from the indiscriminate disease.

The duo set off from Battery Park, in New York, on May 3 this year, on board their custom built, 23ft longboat, cramped with technology and limited luxuries.


Tom Rainey is hugged as he steps back onto dry land

Tom Rainey is hugged as he steps back onto dry land

They had initially intended on breaking a record which has stood for 119 years, by completing the journey in just 55 days and 13 hours.

Their luck ran out when the plucky brits became stuck in a loop of current caused by interaction between the Gulf Stream and a series of seamounts off the coast of Nova Scotia.

For 10 days they travelled hundreds of miles in a loop, until they were eventually able to break free by rowing back the way they had come to break out of the eddy.

The setback left their initial record attempt in tatters, but favourable wins and a determination to succeed saw their luck improve.

Shortly after being stuck in the eddy they broke the World record for greatest distance covered in 24 hours in an ocean rowing boat, by travelling 112.5 nautical miles.

Speaking from on board their boat when they broke the first record, Tom said: “To have broken the world record is unreal, something we never even dreamt of completing.

“Lawrence and I have been punching the air and slaying the miles on the oars ever since.”

Now, the duo are set to enter the record books for the second time, when they become the youngest people to ever row across the Atlantic.

Tom’s mum, Anne Rainey, said: “Tom decided on this adventure when his dad died, and he never takes no for an answer.

“Tom wanted to do something epic to honour his father.


Sarah Lindsell, chief executive of The Brain Tumour Charity, said: “Tom and Lawrence have put themselves through an extraordinary challenge to raise an incredible amount of money for us and for a cause they believe in passionately.

“Their commitment to helping us end the misery caused by brain tumours, after what Tom’s family went through when they lost Luke, is genuinely awe-inspiring.”