The ORS Int. is the official adjudicator of ocean rowing records for Guinness World Records



By Victoria Ward, PA News

February 07, 2003

A British rower will hit the record books today - even though he is still as far from his destination as when he started. Andrew Halsey, 45, left Peru for Australia 72 days ago and is exactly the same distance from Brisbane as when he set off. He will today break the world record for covering the least distance in the most time at sea in a rowing boat, despite covering 2,300 miles in 72 days. The epileptic rower from London, in his second attempt to row solo across the Pacific, is caught in the grip of contrary winds and currents. Despite leaving Peru on November 25, he is still a gruelling 8,108 miles from his destination. The journey should take around 297 days - nine or ten months - which is what Mr Halsey's boat is stocked for, but he said yesterday that he would not give up and expected to be at sea in his 25ft boat at least until July. The previous record for the least distance covered in the most time at sea in a rowing boat was held by fellow Briton Peter Bird who in 1993 covered just 11 miles in one month during a journey which eventually lasted 304 days. Mr Bird attempted to row the Pacific seven times, only once successfully, and died in 1996 when his boat was smashed in a storm. Mr Halsey's mother Barbara has spoken to her son almost daily via satellite phone. She said today: "I have absolute confidence in him. He's experienced and knows what to do. He's in good spirits and feels he'll be on track shortly. "He won't take any risks, if he feels he can't continue he will stop. Obviously I'm worried but not too much at the moment." Mr Halsey, who has had four epileptic seizures since his journey began, has travelled over 2,300 miles since setting out from Callao, but the currents are pushing him towards Costa Rica and he is daily increasing the distance between his boat and Australia. Kenneth F. Crutchlow, from the London-based Ocean Rowing Society of which Andrew is a member, said: "We admire his spirit, he's upbeat and determined to carry on. "It has been his life goal and one has to feel for him. "It's unbelievable how unlucky he's been a second time, but he's certainly proved he's got tenacity. "What's particularly frustrating is that this is his second attempt. He wants to let it be known that people with epilepsy can still do things and lead a normal life. "It's a shame to see a man travel 2,300 miles and for him to know that he's got absolutely nowhere toward his final destination. "Whether he'll get out of it or not only time will tell."