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Pacific rower cheerful despite slow progress

Saturday, 8 February, 2003, 13:21 GMT

A man trying to row solo across the Pacific says he is still on target to arrive in Australia in mid-2003, despite being stuck in mid-ocean in bad weather.

Andrew Halsey, a 45-year-old disabled Briton, made rowing history on Friday by covering the least distance in the most time in a boat.

He left Peru 72 days ago but is still 13,000 kilometres (8,000 miles) from his destination - no closer than on the day he embarked on his journey.

Mr Halsey - who suffers from epilepsy - is on his second attempt to row solo across the Pacific, and is caught in contrary winds and currents.

In a interview via satellite phone with the BBC's World Today Programme, he said even not advancing was hard work.

"You are rowing every day - it's not like you're just sitting here," he said.

"It's just that you have three forces all in opposing directions - it's very hard going."


"I've gone around the Galapagos Island - so that's my warm up lap done - and now I'm on my way" Andrew Halsey

Seizures
But despite the adverse conditions, Mr Halsey said he still hoped to arrive in the Australian port of Brisbane by July.

He added that he was only 200 miles away from good rowing conditions, and remained optimistic.


Halsey is still far away from Australia

"You can't row across an ocean and the first time you get a bit of bad weather say let's quit," he said.

"I've gone around the Galapagos Islands - so that's my warm-up lap done - and now I'm on my way."

Mr Halsey has travelled more than 3,700 kilometres since setting out from Peru.

He has had four epileptic seizures since his journey began, the Press Association new agency reported.

The previous record for the least distance covered in the most time in a rowing boat was held by another Briton - Peter Bird.

In 1993, he travelled 18 kilometres in one month during his journey.

During Mr Halsey's last attempt at crossing the Pacific in 2000, he came close to starvation and had to be rescued.

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