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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 June, 2003, 05:48 GMT 06:48 UK
Rower forced to abandon boat
simon chalk
The oarsman was greeted by a crowd of 200 in Mauritius
A Devon rower who made a record-breaking crossing of the Indian Ocean has suffered a dramatic ending to his epic journey.

Solo oarsman Simon Chalk was just hours from a hero's welcome at Mauritius after being towed from St Brandon Island when disaster struck.

An overnight storm was so severe that he was forced to make the agonising decision to cut his self-righting craft, True Spirit, free and abandon her.

Mr Chalk, a property developer from Newton Abbot, is tracking the vessel and hopes to launch an operation to salvage her.

More than 200 people were on the quayside to welcome Mr Chalk to Mauritius.

'Pretty awesome'

"I am feeling pretty awesome, but losing the boat is disastrous," he said.

"We had to cut it free, but we are tracking it and we are going to launch an operation to salvage it as soon as we possibly can."

Mr Chalk completed a 3,200-mile, 108-day crossing from western Australia to the finish line off Raphael Island on Sunday - making him the first Briton and youngest person to conquer the ocean.

After that achievement, Mr Chalk made a brief landfall at Raphael, and was then towed for 15 hours to St Brandon Island.

During his voyage, Mr Chalk experienced adverse winds, searing heat and storms, and even survived a scare when True Spirit was rolled onto its side.

Devon rower sets record
15 Jun 03  |  Devon
Solo rower's near miss
04 Jun 03  |  Devon
Ocean rower injured during storm
04 Jun 03  |  Hereford/Worcs
Rower targets new destination
01 Jun 03  |  Devon


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