From record attempt to a rescue

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The journey four men had begun June 1, attempting to row from New Jersey across the North Atlantic route to their British homeland on the Isles of Scilly, came to an abrupt end Saturday 650 miles into the effort, according to the Coast Guard.

After almost two weeks at sea, the Coast Guard received a call on an iridium satellite phone at 1 a.m. June 14 from one of the crewmembers on the 29-foot rowboat, Woodvale Challenge. The caller stated the boat had capsized 420 nautical miles east of Cape Cod and all four of the crewmembers were in the two cabins of the boat. They were instructed to activate their EPIRB and a Hercules search aircraft crew went out to locate the boat, according to the report. Meanwhile, the Norfolk (Va.) RescueCoordinationCenter contacted the merchant vessel Gulf Grace and directed that crew to the area to assist the Coast Guard in picking up the crew. They were taken aboard the Gulf Grace at 8 a.m. and treated for mild hypothermia.

The men were participating in the Woodvale Challenge with a goal to cross 3,000 nautical miles in 55 days. They sought to break the record held by two Norwegian fishermen, George Harboe and Gabriel Samuelson, who rowed this route in an open boat in 1896, according to the report. The team consists of Chris Jenkins, Time Garratt, Wayne Davey and Joby Newton.

“We are hugely relieved that the guys have been rescued and are safe and well,” says Simon Chalk, team coordinator of Woodvale Challenger Ltd., in the report. “So many thousands of people from around the world have watched their epic challenge and will share in our sadness that their voyage has been cut short.”

For information, visit www.woodvale-challenge.com

— Elizabeth Ellis