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East Anglian Daily Times

Essex rower faces new storm

May 7, 2003 05:10

A STORM has broken out between an Essex-based epileptic rower who failed in a bid to cross the Pacific Ocean and a group which claimed to have sponsored the adventure.

Andrew Halsey, 45, returned to the county last month after he was rescued by US Coastguards after storms wrecked his boat. 

But since his homecoming, the director of the Ocean Rowing Society, Kenneth Crutchlow, said Mr Halsey should not make anymore record attempts and claimed he had not explained the loss of more than 10,000 of electrical equipment, camera gear and a water maker from the boat he claimed belonged to the society and sponsors.

Mr Halsey, defended his seamanship and said the Ocean Rowing Society only had a limited involvement in his last record attempt.

Mr Halsey set off in the 25ft Brittany Rose from Callao, Peru on November 25 last year, for Brisbane, Australia, but ran into currents and winds, which made progress almost impossible. 

His adventure ended after he was caught in a force 10 storm and was battered by 50ft waves and capsized 18 times in 36 hours. The Brittany Rose had to be set adrift.

The former bricklayer had rowed the equivalent of 4,000 miles, but was only 2,000 miles from his starting point when a Chinese fishing boat, the Tarzan 16, rescued him.

He was later transferred to the US coastguard boat, the Munro, before being flown home. 

Mr Crutchlow said the feeling was that it was unrealistic for Mr Halsey to go to sea again because it was felt he had displayed increasingly bad seamanship.

"He needs to finish with this one, we have no power to stop him but we would bring it to his attention that he does have a responsibility. I would also like to know how he would like to pay us back for the water maker," he added.

Mr Halsey refuted the claims and said the value of goods such as the water maker had been exaggerated. 

He said the only time his team had been in contact with Mr Crutchlow during the row had been when they had to make arrangements for a drop off of food and said the sponsors backing the effort had been given good publicity. 

He said: "The society was not my point of contact during the journey and it was not sponsoring the attempt. My team was made up of volunteers and Mr Crutchlow was put out because we did not want anything to do with him on this campaign".

He recalled the "bizarre and unusual" weather which forced his rescue, when the boat's rudder broke off it filled with water. 

Mr Halsey acknowledged one "Argos" beacon used to identify his position had been left on board the Tarzan 16 because it had not been placed in his belongings when he was transferred to the US coastguard boat.

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