What an oar-some feat.
An Irish man made history Tuesday when he became the first person in the world to row from New York City to Galway, Ireland — spending a grueling 112 days at sea.
Damian Browne, 42, embarked on the 3,450 nautical mile voyage across the Atlantic Ocean from Chelsea Piers on June 14th, the Irish Examiner reported.
The former professional rugby player then rowed, rowed, rowed his 20-foot craft named Cushlamachree for a whopping 2,686 hours — “fighting mother nature every step of the way,” he said of the journey on Instagram.
Browne arrived back home to a hero’s welcome from supporters, including his family who was thrilled to have him back on terra firma after the arduous adventure, titled Project Empower.
“I can’t explain how challenging the conditions were, obviously it’s the North Atlantic and it’s very changeable and every change I seemed to get was negative,” he told the Irish Independent.
“Constantly hit with adverse currents so it was incredibly stressful because you would work so hard and put so much into getting one mile or two miles and then you could come off the oars for 15 minutes and you could have half of that mile wiped out and you’d have to put the head down again to regain it,” the former Connacht and Leinster player continued.“I think the biggest effect it has is on your hands because you’re gripping a serious degree of force with the oars because they can be popped out of your hands very easily if you’re not careful.”
Browne began his journey with his pal Fergus Farrell in hopes of breaking a world record by rowing across the pond in just 56 days, but his companion had to be lifted after 13 days because of health reasons, the Independent reported.
But Farrell, who survived a serious spinal injury four years ago, was on hand to greet his friend on Tuesday.
“I am just relieved that Damo is home as I had left him alone out in the middle of the ocean,” he said on the joyous reunion.
Browne said he cherished the “special moment” of finally reaching his destination and being reunited with his partner Rozelle and baby daughter Elodie — but he admitted he didn’t mind the solitude.
“The solitude wasn’t actually something that I found very testing because I’m that type of person, I do take energy from being in my own company, it’s more the difficulties I faced with the conditions,” he told the local outlet.
But Browne said the arrival wasn’t quite the finish he had envisioned.
“Unfortunately I ended up on some rocks in Furbo on the north shore of Galway bay at around 1 a.m. — it was a very tense and stressful night,” he told the Examiner.
“The boat was hit with the wash from a heavy wave, it turned itself and the wave flipped me over and broke one of my oars.”
Browne managed to crawl onto a large rock and got in touch with a friend to ask for assistance from emergency services.
“I accomplished what I wanted to and I’m safe and I’m uninjured and I have had an incredible reception,” he said.
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