Rowing pair raise nearly half a million dollars: Safe on Land – after 50 days at sea!

Dear all,

What a trip but we are now safely on land having arrived at Port St Charles Saturday morning. We passed the Barbados cement works (the official finish line) at 9:48 am (local time) meaning the crossing took us 50 days 15 hours 43 minutes. For two local Shropshire boys without the latest technology, boat design or intention to set records this is a very respectable time, only a few hours longer than an Olympic rowing gold medalist who also completed an Atlantic crossing a few years ago.

A pair of young British rowers, Harry Martin-Dreyer and Alex Bland, who have just raised over £142,000 for diabetes and leukaemia research.  They arrived at Port St Charles on Saturday 1 February and are in Barbados...

A pair of young British rowers, Harry Martin-Dreyer and Alex Bland, who have just raised over £142,000 for diabetes and leukaemia research. They arrived at Port St Charles on Saturday 1 February and are in Barbados…

We spotted the refraction of Barbados as the sunset on Friday evening when we were still about 27 miles away. We had a very relaxed final night on the boat without a huge distance to cover and spent it staring at the growing mass of lights. In the morning as the sun rose we were presented with breaking waves and green fields just off our bows, what a great feeling. Soon after sunrise the wonderful Brian Wells met us at the north point of the island bringing family out to see us and importantly acting as our pilot boat whilst we rounded the notorious north coast of the island, offering encouragement during the last hours. Eventually we made it and had a wonderful arrival at the Port St Charles Yacht Club with a great collection of family, friends, sponsors and locals who had come to see us in. As we stepped off the boat trying to walk was very strange and both Alex and I nearly ended up in the water several times as we stumbled around on the jetty (after so long at sea it has taken us about 48 hours to find ourland legs“).

For a long time at sea we had both craving cold drinks and fresh food and almost immediately after amazing hugs and some tears we were presented with a man’s meal – starter of burger followed by an enormous steak (I lost 15kg out there, maybe I’ll write a diet book) . Neither touched the sides! The afternoon was excellent but there is no doubt we were both slightly distant and confused, with so many people simply making the arrival a little daunting, but very special.

We have now been on the island for a few days enjoying family suppers, tea at the British high commission, much food and beer but probably most importantly big comfortable beds (where we have both been found curled up in a ball as though we were still on the boat). The support however, from the outside world has not ceased and the donations have been rolling in to the website ( taking the fundraising for charity to more than GBP £142,000. What a wonderful thing and thank you all so much for this quite staggering support. Also once again this could not have all happened without the support of so many but especially Hotel Rafayel and all our loyal sponsors.

I am delighted to say that Pink Banana Studios will be putting together a documentary style video based on the recordings we made during the journey that will hopefully give some insight into the trails and tribulations we faced. We will get that to you in due course.

Until the next challenge (or not!)


P.S. On unofficial business but very importantly to me I am incredibly pleased and proud to announce that once Lucy Plant worked out what I was doing as I stumbled on to one knee (she thought I had just fallen over to start with) she agreed to marry me and is now wearing the ring that came such a long way with us!

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