They've done it! Lymington's Ocean brothers break world records
Youngest ocean rower in a team of two with his brother completed unsupported transatlantic row on Mothering Sunday
Ocean Brothers Jude Massey and his brother Greg Bailey have finished their gruelling unsupported 3,000-mile row across the Atlantic. They arrived in Barbados on Sunday 11 March after spending 53 days at sea and were welcomed by their mother, author Alexandra Massey, making her the perfect Mothering Sunday!
The brothers have been rowing to raise money for the British Skin Foundation to fund vital skin cancer research, and in memory of Jude's father (Greg's step-father) Pete Massey, who lost his 16 year battle with skin cancer two years ago. So far the pair have raised a monumental £82,000 and this figure is set to rocket closer to their goal of £100,000.
Watch coverage of their arrival in Barbados on their Facebook page.
Emotions were high as the brothers approached Barbados. The sea was rough and they had to dig deep to find the strength to battle forwards. The Ocean Brothers arrived in Port St. Charles at 5.15pm local time, finally stepping off the boat at 5.38pm. (9.15pm / 9.38pm GMT). Family and friends including their mother, Alexandra Massey and Greg’s girlfriend, Francesca Marzullo were waiting and cheering as they arrived.
Greg said, “I just feel totally overwhelmed to be here in Barbados and even more so to have received such a wonderful reception from all our family and friends. I’m so happy that we managed to complete the challenge for the British Skin Foundation in memory of Peter and raise awareness of skin cancer at the same time.”
Jude said, “After 53 days at sea I feel really wobbly and I just can’t believe we’ve made it this far – it’s incredible. It also feels amazing to have a Guinness World Record and to have raised £82,000 for skin cancer research.”
Their mum Alex said "When I said goodbye to them at the airport in Gran Canaria, I walked away thinking "will I ever see them again,” and to have them back safe is a dream come true! I am incredibly proud of them and their determination to continue through the worst conditions. The best Mother's Day present a mum could have.”
Francesca, Greg’s girlfriend said, "It's so surreal to have them here and be able to touch them and have a conversation for more than five minutes. They look so different they look so raw and authentic, such beautiful souls."
The courageous brothers will be brought back to their native Lymington on Friday 30 March, courtesy of P&O Cruises on the Britannia which leaves Barbados on Saturday 17 March.
Plans are underway for a big homecoming celebration for their return to Lymington - we will share full details of when and where you can welcome Jude and Greg as soon as we can! Its promising to be an exciting celebration of their achievement!
A Guinness World Record!
Aged 18 and 318 days when they set off, Jude is the youngest person in the world to row any ocean in a team of two. The brothers are also be the first to row the Atlantic Ocean on a plant-based diet. Also being verified is a new world for the most calories ever expended in a day.
Pushing the bounds of endurance
The Ocean Brothers, who set off from Gran Canaria at 05.58 on Thursday 18 January, have spent the last seven and a half weeks at sea. The challenge has forced them to push the bounds of endurance after a succession of equipment failures, misfortunes, calamities, pain and near misses - it's a miracle, but they are going to make it to Barbados!
Within days of setting off their solar powered water maker stopped working. It should have been able to make them 20 litres or more a day, but after several unsuccessful attempts to fix it, the brothers resigned themselves to using their back up manual water maker, requiring them to pump for 5 hours a day to stay hydrated and for food - and therefore adding to their exhaustion.
The auto helm GPS self-steering equipment also broke early on. The brothers managed to rig up a system where they could steer the boat with one hand, whilst rowing with the other - making the journey even more difficult and causing both of them extreme back pain. Over the last couple of weeks, Greg (a Junior Doctor) has been rowing in agony with one arm. Greg thinks it’s a rotator cuff injury and hoping with pain killers it will heal.
Whilst trying to fix the GPS and auto helm, the boat capsized in rough seas and threw them both overboard. The boat self-righted and as they were tethered, they managed to climb back on - but lost some equipment.
Greg and Jude both have enormous and painful blisters and sores over their bodies (including some sensitive areas) and especially their hands.
Wild seas and wildlife
Greg and Jude have rowed through storms, fought 25ft waves and enormous swells. The main cabin sprung two leaks which caused further equipment malfunctions. The boys have slept some of the journey in a soaking wet bed as the cabin flooded after a freak wave hit whilst Jude was getting out of the hatch.
The brothers have experienced wonderful nature, beautiful skies and seen whales, turtles, dolphins and many other marine creatures.
Speaking to the BBC Chris Evans Breakfast Show live from the boat, Greg said: "We've had some wonderful starry nights to look at and have reminisced about the loss of our father and step-father and come to terms with that."
A little bird they named ‘Pete’ after their father, has been following them since they left Gran Canaria – though Pete has taken to dive bombing them! And as they have rowed closer to Barbados they can't work out where the bird goes to sleep!
Midway across the Atlantic, Jude was hit hard in the face by a flying fish. And on several occasions, sharks have followed the boat - the first time just after Jude jumped in to the water to scrape barnacles off the hull!
An incredible achievement
The Ocean Brothers have rowed the Atlantic on a vegan diet – a mix of 14 dehydrated slow-cooked expedition meals plus snacks, chocolate, fruit and nuts. Speaking before they left, Jude said: "Honestly, the meal packs taste amazing! Only 100 percent natural ingredients are used which means we will be well nourished with essential vitamins, nutrients and minerals."
Neither brother has ever undertaken an endurance sport before.
Before they set off, Jude said: "Dad would be in shock if he found out we were doing this for him. I am sure he would appreciate the massive contribution we are giving to skin cancer research, and awareness. The reality is, if he had known the effects of getting sun burnt, which can lead to skin cancer, his life may have been very different. That’s why I think he would be proud."
Their mother, Alexandra Massey has spoken to the boys regularly by satellite phone during the challenge: "I have been so proud, mixed in with nail bitingly terrified. But having rowed with the boys I know their adventure will be epic and life changing. Pete would be choked with pride."
The brothers were previously novice rowers and decided to take on an ocean challenge due to Peter’s love of the sea. They wanted to show that it was possible to take on this type of challenge in a sun safe way (armed with sunscreen and UV clothing) and also on a vegan diet.
Their challenge has attracted support from HRH Princess Alexandra (the patron of the British Skin Foundation) plus Bear Grylls, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Andrew Triggs-Hodge OBE, Sir Ben Ainslie, James Cracknell OBE, Rob Da Bank and Chris Evans.
The Ocean Brothers are making a documentary about their story, which will be out later this year.
Raising awareness of skin cancer
The Ocean Brothers are raising money for the British Skin Foundation. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK, and rates continue to rise. At least 100,000 new cases are now diagnosed each year, and the disease kills over 2,500 people each year in the UK - that's seven people every day.
Whilst we are getting better at understanding how skin cancer works, we still have a long way to go. On average, someone who dies from skin cancer typically loses 20 years of their life, and rates of malignant melanoma are rising faster than any other type of common cancer. There are three types of skin cancer: malignant melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC). UV exposure is the main preventable cause of skin cancer, so it is vital to stay safe in the sun.
Both brothers are passionate about raising awareness of skin cancer. Jude said: "From the day I was born, until the day dad passed away, he suffered with skin cancer. I have so much motivation in me to try and make a difference to the world, and help people know the dangerous effects the sun can have on our bodies. The number one way to prevent skin cancer is to protect yourself from the sun."
“The British Skin Foundation is incredibly lucky to have such determined and dedicated fundraisers as Greg and Jude. They have tackled every challenge thrown at them by the Atlantic Ocean with true courage. The incredible amount of money they have raised will fund skin cancer research to find cures and treatments for future patients. Your dad would have been very proud.” Matthew Patey, CEO, British Skin Foundation.
Lymington Homecoming: Good Friday 30 March 2018
We will bring you all the details of Jude Massey and Greg Bailey's exciting return to Lymington soon!
Images at Barbados finish: Adam Rowley Creative - https://www.adamrowleycreative.com