Hopes to set record while raising money for charity
Photo by Nancy Kelly/Special to The Telegram
The tip of Cape Spear will likely be the last piece of land Peter Bray will see for some time.
Bray rowed his 21-foot fiberglass boat out into the vast North Atlantic this morning, hoping to set a world record for rowing across the Atlantic. He'll have to do it in less than 64 days.
He hopes to end the attempt in The Scilly Isles, just off the southwest tip of Britain in record time.
And while the sunshine and calm waters made for a good start to the journey this morning in St. John's harbour, the middle of the cold, deep North Atlantic can be a treachorous and unpredictable place, even at this time of year.
The 53-year-old former British solider says he will row roughly 10 hours a day, depending on weather. He has been in St. John's since June 7 waiting for the right conditions.
Today was his day.
"I've got about two days of good weather," Bray told The Telegram. "Which is all I need. I can get about 50 miles out."
The weather is supposed to turn worse in a couple of days, but Bray says he will be fine out in the ocean. The heavy winds won't send him back to the island.
Bray has already tried to row across the Atlantic in 2004. His team of four was just days away from reaching their goal when Hurricane Alex tore the boat in two. Bray was awarded the Royal Humane Society bronze medal for bravery for saving another crew member's life.
In 2004, his boat was named the Pink Lady. His new boat is named the Black Knight.
On this trip, Bray will sleep in a frontal compartment, which he says gives him just enough room to lie down. His food will be dehydrated to save space and his water will come from a device that turns salt water into freshwater. He will have regular communication to his support crew on land through a satellite link.
When asked what he will do in his free time on the open water, he said, "What free time? Between eating, sleeping, rowing, and sending my blog, there just isn't any time left over."
Being a former solider, Bray is hoping to raise money and awareness for the Help for Heroes charity. The charity helps wounded service men when government isn't enough.
"This is for the troops, that is my main aim," he said. "If I can break the record, then that will be the icing on the cake."