ONE of the two-man team from Jersey who completed a 3,000-mile row across the Atlantic at the weekend is set to return home tomorrow – in time to celebrate his wedding anniversary.
Peter Wright and Steve Hayes, rowing as part of the team DragonFish, completed the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge when they crossed the finish line in Antigua at around 4am (Jersey time) on Sunday, after almost eight weeks at sea.
While Mr Hayes is spending another week in the Caribbean with his wife, Corina, and the couple’s two-year-old daughter, Sofia, Mr Wright will begin his journey home this afternoon.
After connecting from London, Mr Wright will be home with his wife, Rachel, to celebrate the couple’s 17th wedding anniversary. The overnight journey by plane back across the Atlantic should take about eight hours – in contrast to the 54 days, 16 hours and 45 minutes for the westbound leg on board the DragonFish boat, Lilly Mae.
Speaking to the JEP from Antigua, Mr Wright said he was still taking in the reaction to the pair’s achievement.
He said: ‘We’d had lots of technical issues, and then a couple of days before we landed I broke my phone, so I haven’t had the chance to catch up with messages.
‘Fortunately it was only the last day or so that we were out of contact, as getting all the messages of support from family and friends had been amazing when the going was tough.’
Mr Wright said that the toughest part of the voyage had been the four-day period immediately after Christmas when the duo were confined to their small cabin during violent weather.
‘We barely had any air, because if any water had got in we would have sunk,’ he said. ‘And with two people in a confined space, the condensation built up and our equipment started to malfunction.’
Mrs Wright watched the live-streamed broadcast of the finish from Jersey with the couple’s children, Josh (16) and 12-year-old Leila.
‘I got the kids up and we watched it together and it was quite emotional,’ she said. ‘I felt guilty about not being able to be there, but GCSEs [for Josh] took priority and it was nice to be able to share the moment via the live-stream.’
Sunday night was the first time for several weeks that Mrs Wright had an uninterrupted night’s sleep, she added.
‘It’s been a real worry, looking at the radar every four hours to make sure they hadn’t capsized,’ she said.
Highlights included passing key milestones such as half-way and 1,000 miles to go, Mr Wright said, as well as the chance to interact with a passing cruise liner just over a week before finishing the race.
DragonFish crossed the line in 33rd place out of the 43 crews that started the race, with one boat having been forced to abandon in mid-Atlantic.
Mr Wright’s broken phone meant the duo had to finish the challenge without musical accompaniment. The Bonnie Tyler anthem Total Eclipse of the Heart was the most-played song on the soundtrack, he said, with the line ‘turn around, bright eyes’ used regularly when it was time to change course.