AFTER almost eight weeks at sea in a small boat, two rowers from Jersey are poised to complete their trans-Atlantic challenge this weekend.
Yesterday afternoon Steve Hayes and Peter Wright were moving into the final 100 miles of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, a gruelling 3,000-mile ocean race that began in the Canary Islands on 12 December.
At their current rate, the Islanders’ boat, DragonFish, should reach the finish line in Antigua between 8am and 9am tomorrow, with Mr Wright’s father, Jack, among those waiting to greet them.
Speaking to the JEP from the Antiguan capital, English Harbour, Mr Wright snr said: ‘The boys were delayed by a really sticky spell of weather, but they seem to be past the worst of it now and have clocked up 50 miles every 24 hours over the past few days.
‘They must be really tired, but I imagine the adrenalin should keep them going and that we’ll see them cross the finish line on Sunday, hopefully during daylight.’
Mr Wright, who lives in Wimbourne, Dorset, landed in Antigua last Sunday and hoped to see his son by the middle of this week, only to receive the news that the adverse weather had pushed the ETA for DragonFish back to 10 February, prompting him to move his return flight back to the UK from tomorrow until Tuesday evening.
Mr Hayes’ wife, Corina, is also in Antigua with the couple’s three-year-old daughter, Sofia, while his two older children, Evan and Isla, are anxiously following his progress from Jersey, as are Mr Wright’s wife, Rachel, and their children, Josh and Leila.
Mr Wright, a finance director at Prosperity 24/7, and Mr Hayes, general manager at the Somerville Hotel, have had to endure some major challenges during the crossing. As well as the weather, these have included several equipment failures and encounters with flying fish.
The duo raised around £120,000 to take part in the event, with some of the money funding their boat, which cost £25,000. They are seeking to raise £50,000 for the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and cancer charity Macmillan Jersey. Donations can be made at dragonfishrow.com.