Brits chased by shark and covered in blisters as they row across 3,000 miles of ocean

Will Drew, 38, from Humberston, in North East Lincolnshire, joined two fellow crew members to complete the mammoth 3,000-mile challenge

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Grimsby rower conquers Atlantic challenge

An inspirational adventurer has returned home to the UK after an epic mission crossing 3,000 miles of the Atlantic Ocean – despite having never rowed before in his life.

Will Drew, 38, from Humberston in North East Lincolnshire joined two fellow crew members to complete the mammoth challenge in an attempt to highlight the devastation of maritime pollution.

The team came eighth overall and won second place in the trio class. Their colossal challenge was embarked upon with the aim of supporting The Ocean Conservation Trust, reports Grimsby Live.

Now Will, a local property developer, wants to take his environmental message into schools in North East Lincolnshire.

Having embarked on the voyage with supplies of easy cook food and energy supplements, Will has returned home with a surplus which he wants to donate to a local homeless charity.

Will, Sam Morris and Toby Kendall raised over £92,000 for conservation, thanks to friends, relatives and corporate sponsorship.

The group have raised over £92,000 for conservation


Penny Bird/MEN MEDIA)

Back home, Will told Grimsby Live: “The support we have had is incredible. We have come back with £3,000-worth of food because we over ordered and want to give it to a homeless charity to help those less fortunate.

“We took lots of chocolate and Haribo for energy but ran out of snacks so didn’t have any chocolate or Haribo for a week and used the boil in a bag meals. But there are loads left over. They are good quality.”

Will added: “I am hoping to into schools to inspire children to do their best and how they can prevent disposal of plastic and more responsible use of plastics.

“The challenge has also helped with mental health and helped me re-set and that has been really good. The benefits of challenging yourself with exercise are great.”

The crew took 38 days and 13 minutes to cross the line at English Harbour, on Antigua having left La Gomera on Tenerife.

They were only four hours behind the winning crew of three rowers. They went up from 16th to 8th place in the last four days.

Will told how he lost 12kgs in weight and suffered acute blisters on his hands from the constant rowing.

Will Drew embarked on the 3,000-mile challenge with two crew members


Penny Bird/MEN MEDIA)

“I felt like Robinson Crusoe by the end,” said Will.

But he and his shipmates were appalled by the amount of pollution they saw.

“There was a large oil slick and loads of plastic bottles. There was even a parcel we saw floating by and wondered what was in it and who it was for, but we could not reach it. There was even a plastic doormat floating by, told Will.

It is impacting on the sea life they enjoyed seeing.

Will told how to fin from a large shark was seen following in their wake for nearly a minute. They also heard a whale song and even saw a whale within 15 meters of their boat.

On Day 28 a pod of dolphins swam past.

The team came eighth overall and won second place in the trio class.


Penny Bird/MEN MEDIA)

The most remarkable sight for Will was when the sea went dead calm and a shoal of plankton went past and showed off a spectacular array of colours.

He said: “It was like something out of Avatar. They were such brilliant colours. It was such a real treat. It is such a special place out in the Atlantic.”

The highlights broke up the enormous effort of rowing 14 hours every day and a routine of rowing, eating and sleeping.

Will said: “While I was rowing, I was always thinking what can I do locally and try to help others. I am very proud to be from Grimsby and will use the challenge to hopefully inspire others.”

He is back to running on his favorite route along Cleethorpes beach to The Fitties.

Will said the luxury from home that he missed the most was a big helping of fish and chips.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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