Baldock Doctor sails into the record books

A DOCTOR who’d never rowed a boat before he took part in a gruelling Atlantic expedition has returned home with two world records.

Dr Graham Carlin, of Park Street, Baldock, was part of a team that sailed into the Guinness World Record Book after becoming the fastest crew to cross the Atlantic Ocean, a feat they managed in 33 days, 21 hours and 46 minutes.

The 3,170 mile voyage began in Tarfaya, Morocco on January 5 and they arrived on their boat, Sara G, in St. Charles, Barbados, on February 8, taking 10 hours and 36 minutes off the previous record.

Dr Carlin, who quit his job at GlaxoSmithKline to take part in the challenge, said: “It was fantastic, it was very hard work but we achieved the world record.

“If anyone has seen the film The Perfect Storm then you will have any idea of the sort of waves we had to face, they were monstrous.”

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The six international crewmates also managed the superhuman feat of rowing for 12 days consecutively over 100 miles, more than any boat in recorded history, smashing the previous record of nine.

Sleep deprivation and exhaustion battered the bodies and minds of the crewmates as to beat both records they had to maintain a brutal regime of two hours of rowing and two hours of rest.

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The 36-year-old said: “It’s very hard work you’re constantly tired, you only have 40 minutes sleep at a time.

“Sleep deprivation gives you halicunations for the first week or so then physically it’s also very damaging, I also lost 20 kilos in that time, most other people lost 15k it takes a huge toll on your body.”

Dr Carlin estimates that each member of the crew lost around 25 per cent of their body weight after a month at sea and as well as the punishing pace sea sickness and cramped conditions added to the challenge.

Despite the sapping feat of endurance that Dr Carlin and his five crewmates endured to beat the records, the good ship Sara G will hopefully once again be making history next year in June 2012 when the crew attempt to be the first to row the Indian Ocean from Australia to Africa.

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