Almost home after three months at sea as ex-rugby player Damian Browne takes a front row seat across the Atlantic

Former rugby player Damian Browne is expected in Galway Bay in the next few weeks after rowing solo across the Atlantic from New York.

he adventure, titled Project Power, began as a two-man world record challenge with Mr Browne’s friend Fergus Farrell, while also raising money for four charities – Ability West, Galway Simon Community, MADRA Dog Rescue and the NRH Foundation.

The couple, both from Galway, began their world record attempt on June 14, sparked by Mr Farrell’s recent recovery from a spinal injury and her “desire to raise funds for four charities close to our hearts”.

As Mr. Browne is nearly three months into his voyage across the Atlantic, the Irish Independent was able to speak to Mr. Farrell about his two weeks aboard the fiberglass boat and which resulted in his abandoning it two weeks into the expedition.

“Damian, who has rowed before, spoke to me about rowing across the Atlantic. The ambition was to break the world record and it was going very, very well at the time,” he said.

Leaving New York is a memory he will cherish, but the crossing soon became monotonous — the challenge, he said, the long-distance rowing.

“I couldn’t stand the food out there, it was like eating cardboard all the time,” he said. “The best thing was actually the rowing. You get a view, breeze and fresh air. The worst part was falling asleep again in the cabin, which was made of fiberglass and steel – it was like sleeping in a sauna.

After 14 days at sea, he fell ill and had to be disembarked to receive medical treatment due to severe exhaustion, aggravated by a recent spinal injury and a collapsed lung.

The bus operator, Mr. Farrell, was brought aboard a tanker that was responding to a US Coast Guard request for assistance. It took him three weeks to recover.

Mr Browne decided to go it alone and has been rowing solo for almost three months, turning the record attempt into a solo endurance challenge. Mr. Farrell is sure his friend is enjoying the extra space.

“We are two big boys. He’s 1.80m tall, I’m 1.80m tall – we’re built like rugby players. Most rowers are thinner built,” he said.

Mr Browne is expected to arrive in Galway between September 15th and 20th, weather permitting. Almost home after three months at sea as ex-rugby player Damian Browne takes a front row seat across the Atlantic

Fry Electronics Team

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