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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 February 2007, 10:10 GMT
'Rookie rowers' close to finish
Stuart Turnbull
The pair resorted to catching fish but they soon lost their spear
Two novice rowers who ran out of food on a 3,000 mile (4827km) fundraising trip are close to finishing the voyage.

Stuart Turnbull of Swindon, Wilts, and Edward Baylis of Wimborne, are hoping to break the record for the fastest Atlantic crossing without support.

The rowers are now expected to reach their final destination of Antigua sometime on Thursday or early Friday.

"Despite all problems, this is just the way we would have wanted it - a real pirate's adventure," Mr Baylis said.

The pair are rowing to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

He added: "It's not been a flat-out, boring, world record crossing. We've had the time of our lives and would not have missed a minute of it.

"Now we're just excited to reach land, meet our friends and families - and have a few beers."

They set off from La Gomera in the Canaries on 20 December last year, to row unsupported across the Atlantic in their 24-foot plywood boat with two oars.

Atlantic rowing map
Treacherous weather, including 40ft (12.2m) high waves as big as houses, delayed their attempt and the inexperienced rowers found themselves running out of food and living on starvation rations.

The duo resorted to spearing fish but then lost their spear overboard 350 miles (563km) away from Antigua, their final destination.

At one point the pair found themselves examining toothpaste and seaweed for their nutritional content.

As supplies ran dry they contacted the Ocean Rowing Society who arranged a life-saving rendezvous with a pair of Dutch rowers last Wednesday.

After "eating like kings" the rowers restocked their supplies and continued in an effort to complete the journey, which has raised more than 200,000 for Cancer Research UK.

Hungry rowers fed by Dutch seamen
16 Feb 07 |  Wiltshire

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