Posted on February 15, 2019
Neil Young and Peter Ketley, known as the ‘Grandads of the Atlantic’, rowed the 3,000-mile journey from La Gomera to Antigua in 63 days, 40 minutes and six seconds. Mr Young and Mr Ketley met during their time in the Parachute Regiment and have remained friends for 40 years. They had no rowing experience before taking on the challenge.
Speaking to Forces News after completing the race, Mr Ketley said: “It was absolutely wonderful. I’m glad it has ended – I can’t say the whole thing was enjoyable, the longevity of the whole event was rather difficult to take on but we’ve learnt so much and the experience is something that will stay with us forever.”
The pair faced some difficulties early on in the race that slowed their progress. “We had a lot of technical issues and we had some breakages, the rowing seat ball bearings were all over the place, we lost various nuts off the seat, we had a broken oar in a massive wave that hit the boat,” Mr Young explained. “We were also without the autohelm that effectively helps steer the boat – you punch in the numbers you want it to go on and it helps steer the boat. We went without that for 28 days so we’ve had plenty of technical issues to deal with. But lots of good parts of the rowing as well, we enjoyed seeing the whales that we saw three times, (it was) fantastic seeing them coming under the boat, turning over and showing their bellies!”