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Bridlington man wins Atlantic rowing race

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A Bridlington man has tackled one of the world’s toughest challenges and finished rowing across the Atlantic Ocean.

Mike Burton, 54, of Bessingby, landed at Antigua on Tuesday afternoon after rowing for 2,724 nautical miles from the Canary Islands alongside rowing partner Tom Salt.

More people have been into space and climbed Mount Everest than rowed the Atlantic, but the pair completed the amazing feat in 41 days, 2 hours, 38 minutes and 54 seconds - well ahead of the rest of the field in the Atlantic Challenge race.

Mike, who is managing director at AB Graphic International on Carnaby Industrial Estate, is raising money for the Generous Hearts Foundation in Romania, a charity which helps improve the living conditions of orphaned children - some whom are mentally and physically disabled.

According to the official race tracker, the pair have reached their destination more than a week before their nearest competitors are due to arrive.

Mike spent Christmas and New Year at sea, but has been boosted by regular messages from friends and family. He and Tom have been regaling readers with tales of shark attacks, whale and dolphin visits, rough seas capsizing their boat - and their gruelling rowing schedule, six times a day for two hours each time slotted between six 90 minute cat naps in a tiny cabin on their online blog.

Tony Bell, who has known Mike for more than 30 years and is sales director at AB Graphic International, said: “It is fantastic news. We put the announcement out on the tannoy this afternoon (Tuesday) and everyone is very proud of him. It’s an incredible achievement.”

Mike is expected to be home to Bridlington next week.

You can read all about the pair’s adventures at their website www.rowtheatlantic.co.uk

Mike first met sailing partner Tom aboard a sailing yacht while training for the Round the World 09/10 Clipper Yacht Race - and got to know each other well during the 11 months on board.

The pair set off in early December and after only a little over a week on the boat, bad weather and lightning storms forced them to drop their sea anchor – and also caused problems with a power supply for their navigation lights, GPS, autopilot, water maker, radio and other essential equipment.

They then spent fourteen hours retrieving and repairing their rudder after it had became loose and floated off into the ocean.

Mike also spent Christmas and New Year out at sea, but used his blog to send messages home to family and friends. He and Tom say that the messages of support they have received have helped them through the long hours at sea.

As well as the gruelling rowing schedule, Mike has also had to contend with huge waves rolling the boat over - which shorted electrics, let water into his cabin and lost equipment to the ocean.

The seven metre long boat, named Locura, was also attacked by what was thought to be a six metre long shark – who went for the boat’s rudder and carbon fibre hull – and left an 80mm hole on the underside of the boat as well as a horn, which must have broken off when it attacked. A scary experience, as when seated for rowing, Mike is only two feet above the water on the four feet wide boat.

 

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