A British rower attempting a record-breaking voyage across the Atlantic Ocean has been stranded in Cornwall for over a fortnight due to adverse weather.
Mark Delstanche, a superyacht captain from Mayfair in East Sussex, is trying to be the first person to row solo from New York to London. He has already completed 94 per cent of the journey and has raised over £13,000 for Global’s Make Some Noise, a charity for disadvantaged people.
However, a large swell and easterly winds – unusual for this time of year – have resulted in treacherous conditions across the south-west of England, throwing Delstanche off his schedule.
As a result, the 47-year-old – who learned from his father to row on the River Thames – was forced to stop off the Cornish coast near the village of St Mawes. He has now been stationary for 16 days and counting.
“I’m going slightly bonkers,” Delstanche told Reaction. “Having covered 3,500 miles to then be stuck for the last 350 is a little galling. I can’t really do much about it.”
Delstanche set off from the United States on 13 June in his custom ocean boat and has been pushed to the “absolute limit”. He has capsized seven times, with his tracker breaking in the process. He was even rammed by a humpback whale. Delstanche has also had to ration the amount of food he consumes in fear of running out.
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He said: “The North Atlantic is the most dangerous ocean in the world. With the number of times I had capsized, I knew anything could happen. I anticipated this [being forced to wait] would happen.”
Despite the setbacks, Delstanche says he remains in good spirits and is determined to finish: “To come this far and not make it would be nuts, even if it takes longer than expected.”
He adds that he considers himself to be in a “very fortunate” position. Delstanche has become a celebrity around the Roseland Peninsula, with tourists and residents flocking from the harbour to meet him.
“It has been amazing,” he says. “Being a busy holiday spot at this time of year, it has been a great opportunity to tell the people of St Mawes about my journey. Having been 78 days out at sea, it has been really nice.”
Despite offers of support from locals, Delstanche cannot leave his craft or receive any assistance.
He said: “At least when I was in the middle of the Atlantic, I was not prone to temptation. Here, I can smell the fish and chips wafting over during the evening, and the bacon sandwiches in the morning. I am not allowed to accept any help from shore.” He is now having to ration his food supplies to last until he can start off again.
Delstanche is aiming to “make some progress before the next set of easterlies” towards the Isle of Wight, which could come as early as Thursday.
Tower Hill in London is Delstanche’s finishing line. His family and friends will greet him when he arrives. Delstanche stresses how much he misses his wife and two children.
“Holding them again is my impetus,” says Delstanche. “My family have sacrificed so much.”
You can donate to ‘Mark’s North Atlantic Solo’ at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Mark-Delstanche.