Heroic Cirencester rower falls just short of Atlantic world record attempt
SEAFARING student Peter Fleck is sure to receive a hero's welcome when he returns to the Royal Agriculture College in Cirencester this week.
Despite falling short of a world record attempt to become the fastest team to row the Atlantic, Peter and his crew still managed to complete the 2,598 miles in 35 days, 12 hours and 41 minutes.
Poor weather, damaged equipment and freak waves were blamed on holding up the team from reaching their goal on board their agriculture college sponsored boat, the Avalon.
Second year student Peter is now facing a challenge of a different kind.
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"I'll be back at college in a week's time ready to tackle the mountain of coursework that has built up," he said.
"The schedule really took its toll, but nobody missed a shift during the entire crossing.
"Despite not breaking the record, it was still a phenomenal trip, one that words are hard pressed to describe.
"One amazing memory was our mid-Atlantic swimming sessions.
"Everyone was so excited to get off the rowing seats and cool off – it was quite a buzz to know that you had 1,000 miles between you and land on either side."
The vessel, and their home for just over a month, was 45 foot long with a forward and aft cabin to provide shelter in particularly bad conditions.
Despite the poor weather, Peter and his crew were still treated to some awe inspiring moments as they completed their charity bid.
Funds raised will help MS sufferers and those receiving cancer care at the East Hertfordshire based Isabel Hospice.
The crew was aiming to break the current 'Open Class' rowing speed record, with no limit on the number of crew, the 32-day record remains.
The team set off in January due to the helpful trade winds. Last June, rower Charlie Martell, from Cirencester, was forced to abandon his record-breaking attempt to cross the Pacific Ocean.
The 41-year-old had to be rescued after his boat was damaged in a tropical storm, 700 miles off the coast of Japan.