Atlantic rower reaches dry land after ocean rescue

Lauren and Hanna (s)
Lauren and Hanna (s)

A Collingham rower has finally reached dry land after abandoning her bid to row across the Atlantic.

Just 660 miles from the finishing line in Antigua, 24-year-old Lauren Morton and her Talisker Whisky Atlantic Row Challenge partner Hannah Lawton were recued by a cargo ship after suffering a catalogue of misfortune.

Instead of arriving on the sun soaked shores of the Carribbean, the pair have docked in frozen Becancour, Quebec in Canada where they are causing quite a stirr.

The intrepid duo, who was plucked from the ocean by the crew of Belgian cargo ship Lowlands Opal after being adrift for 44 days, have been interviewed extensively.

Lauren’s father Wayne Morton, of Collingham, recently told the Wetherby News that he was relieved that they were safe and immensely proud of what they had achieved.

“Their determination is there for all to see,” said the physiotherapist at Pure Treatment Rooms in Wetherby who added that they had been hoping to get picked up by a West Indies-bound ship.

“I also feel disappointment for them.”

In her last online blogg on March 15, the former Lady Hastings primary pupil said they had suffered a lot of bad luck after setting out from La Gomera last December.

She said: “We aren’t quite sure why bad luck has been following us like a bad smell, although we did smell pretty bad according to the captain of the ship we are now on.

“So just to remind you of our run of bad luck, first of all the autohelm (autopilot) was trying to turn us back around as soon as the race started.

“Then, it snapped off a few days later, our compass always pointed us to 90 degrees east so was neither use nor ornament to us, the blocks that held our dagger board in, came off so we could no longer use it, we got stuck in various low pressure systems, one of our batteries set on fire burning a hole through our charts, we capsized, I split my head open and then the rudder came off, the rod was dropped to the deep depths of the Atlantic, the support yacht came and the rudder they brought us didn’t fit and then the support yacht left and now we are on a 600-feet cargo ship.”

The pair were inspired to compete in one of the world’s toughest rowing races by fellow reower and friend Eleanor Rose Ellis, who died of cervical cancer at the age of 23.

Lauren, a paediactric nurse from Briston UWE and Hannah, of Stoke-on-Trent, were the youngest to compete and were determined to raise money for cancer care but were picked up on day 96.

The pair, who were praised by the captain of the Lowlands Opal, were expected to spend a few days in Montreal before flying back to England.