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Last Updated: Friday, 30 September 2005, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
Royal welcome for Atlantic rower
Oliver Hicks
Ollie Hicks: First Briton to row solo from the United States to England
A British oarsman has returned to the UK mainland after becoming the youngest person to row the Atlantic alone.

Ollie Hicks, 23, from Thorpeness, Suffolk, was met by friend Prince William in Falmouth, Cornwall amid a rapturous welcome.

He finished off at the Isles of Scilly on Wednesday morning, nearly 124 days after setting off from New Jersey, USA.

Bad weather dashed his hopes of breaking the 62-day record and he recorded the slowest crossing.

He said after landing in the Scillies: "It was just one of those things. If we had had better weather, we would have been quicker.

Oliver Hicks
I reckon I've got another row in me
Ollie Hicks

"I have no regrets at all about being out there so long, but I am very pleased to be home now. The last weeks have been very tough as it got colder and wetter and darker and rougher."

Mr Hicks, a friend of Holly Branson, the daughter of his main sponsor, Virgin Group boss Sir Richard Branson, added: "I reckon I've got another row in me.

"Nobody has successfully rowed the Southern Ocean yet, so I could possibly head down to the Southern Hemisphere. I'd like to achieve a real first."

Mr Hicks also became the first Briton to row solo from the United States to England when he landed at Porthcressa Beach on St Mary's in the Isles of Scilly on Wednesday afternoon.

He was met in Falmouth by Sir Richard, who said: "It is as remarkable an achievement as any of the great British adventurers and unlike say Scott of the Antarctic, he has managed to come all the way home.

"All I said was get a weatherman so he knows if a hurricane is coming his way. It's all his own guts and determination that has achieved it."

During the crossing Mr Hicks was re-supplied en route by a passing Royal Navy warship HMS Cumberland when food on his 24ft boat Virgin Atlantic was running low.

Fewer than 150 people have rowed the Atlantic and only 10 have completed the west-east trip from Canada or the USA.

Mr Hicks's rowing boat is a self-contained vessel capable of carrying two men, and has made the crossing twice already.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See the young sailor arrive to a rapturous reception



SEE ALSO:
Atlantic slow row record broken
28 Sep 05 |  England
Atlantic slow row coming to end
26 Sep 05 |  Suffolk
Atlantic oarsman to lighten load
09 Sep 05 |  Suffolk
Atlantic rower more than half-way
23 Aug 05 |  Cornwall


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