Lifelong friends to row from New York to Galway in world record attempt

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galway daily news two men to row across atlantic ocean
Photo: Emilija Jefremova

Lifelong friends Damian Browne and Fergus Farrell will attempt to break a world record by rowing unsupported from New York to Galway next month, while raising funds for four charities.

At an event in The Oslo bar in Salthill this week, Fergus Farrell announced that they will work with the National Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, Ability West, Madra and Galway Simon Community as they try to break the world record.

All four charities will band together to promote the Project Empower’s fundraising effort by asking people to sponsor each of the 5000kms of the New York to Galway Bay Row.

Those wishing to support the event and their charity partners can do so by visiting: http://www.idonate.ie/projectempower2022

Speaking at the launch, Fergus said that both he and Damian are honoured to work alongside four amazing charitable organisations.

“As daunting as the task at hand is, we genuinely can’t wait to get started, and we hope our efforts will benefit all our partners,” he said.

Former Connacht and Leinster forward Damian would become one of only a few individuals to have rowed the Atlantic both ways having crossed from San Sebastian to Antigua in 2018.

In 2018, Fergus Farrell was given a 5% chance of walking again following a workplace accident which left him completely paralysed from below the waist. Extraordinarily, one year later he walked 206 km across Ireland for charity.

There have been 52 previous attempted crossings of the Atlantic by way of unsupported row. Only 11 of these attempts were by pairs and only six of those pairs managed to complete the row.

In total only 18 of the previous attempts managed to complete the crossing. In addition to the six completed attempts by pairs there have also been successful crossings by six solo rowers, five 4s and one 5.

The pairs world record is held by Norwegians George Harboe and Frank (Gabriel) Samuelsen who were the first pair to attempt the row. They crossed from New York to the Scilly Isles in 1896 in a time of 55 days and 13 hours.

After a short break in the Scilly Isles they continued their row for another five days at sea to Le Harve in France.