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Charlie's joy at breaking record

PUBLISHED: 22:38 19 January 2008 | UPDATED: 19:28 05 July 2010

RECORD-BREAKING rower Charlie Taylor has spoken of his delight after completing a 3,000 mile challenge across the Atlantic.

The real-life Action Man, from Southwold, was part of a 14-strong crew to step ashore in Barbados after 33 days, seven hours and a handful of minutes at sea.

RECORD-BREAKING rower Charlie Taylor has spoken of his delight after completing a 3,000 mile challenge across the Atlantic.

The real-life Action Man, from Southwold, was part of a 14-strong crew to step ashore in Barbados after 33 days, seven hours and a handful of minutes at sea.

The team smashed the previous 16-year-old record of 35 days and eight-and-a-half hours by more than two days.

Their efforts at the helm of the 50ft craft La Mondiale were all the more incredible because many of them had never rowed before a few months ago, although others have had long and distinguished professional rowing careers.

Mr Taylor, 31, who used to sail with his father at Orford, is a former Infantry Officer, boxer and sailor who won the judo championships for the Army when he was at Sandhurst.

Speaking from Barbados yesterday he said: “We came within a couple of miles of the island and there was a huge flotilla of boats full of family and friends that accompanied us in.

“As we came around the point into the harbour there was a massive crowd on the edge of the sea wall all cheering and waving.

“Beers were thrust into our hands and there was a big celebration. It was a bit of a shell shock to be honest because for 33 days you're only used to the lads in the boat but it was absolutely amazing.”

Mr Taylor also runs marathons competitively and has two tours of active duty in Iraq under his belt.

His father lives in Theberton and mother lives in Loudham, near Wickham Market, and he taught English at Orwell Park prep school in Nacton.

The rowing challenge was not without its difficulties and at one stage the crew thought they would not be able to complete the feat in record breaking time.

“We had a slight worry about a week ago when we didn't quite get the weather we were hoping for,” Mr Taylor said.

“We were really expecting very strong eastern trade winds to help us along. However over the last few weeks they weren't as strong or as reliable as we hoped.

“We were only a few hundred miles away when that started happening but we did start to worry that we might not make it in time.

“In the first week we also spent three days at anchor not going anywhere because we were in the middle of a storm, so that set us back straight away.

“However the crew are incredibly strong and determined and we were able to power through some of the weather to get us back on track.”

Mr Taylor's sponsorship for the mammoth row is in support the East Suffolk branch of the Alzheimer's Society.

He chose the charity because his grandmother, Nancy Wilkins, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease earlier this year after recovering from breast cancer.

The Atlantic row seems to have wet his appetite for more adventures as Mr Taylor said he was hoping to run across the Gobi Desert.

“You can never say never but I'm not sure if I'll do an ocean row again,” he said. “There are a lot of different challenges out there to try and get my teeth into. I've been talking to one of the other crew members and we're already thinking about running across the Gobi Desert together.”

If you would like to sponsor Mr Taylor for his row visit www.justgiving.com/charliesatlanticrow.

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