Man attempts world rowing record from St. John's to Britain

Nancy Kelly
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Row, row, row your boat, gently across the Atlantic

How do you get to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean?

According to Peter Bray, you leave St. John's harbour in a rowboat, turn left at The Narrows, turn right at the Gulf Stream, then row straight ahead until you reach Britain.

That's Bray's goal, anyway. He left St. John's Wednesday morning hoping to beat the world record of rowing across the North Atlantic in under 64 days. He hopes to finish his adventure in the Scilly Isles, just off the southwestern tip of Britain.

Peter Bray rows through The Narrows the last sight of land Bray will see for at least two months, if his trip goes as planned. In case of an emergency, Bray has a life-raft and a survival suit aboard. Photo by Nancy Kelly/Special to The Telegram

How do you get to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean?

According to Peter Bray, you leave St. John's harbour in a rowboat, turn left at The Narrows, turn right at the Gulf Stream, then row straight ahead until you reach Britain.

That's Bray's goal, anyway. He left St. John's Wednesday morning hoping to beat the world record of rowing across the North Atlantic in under 64 days. He hopes to finish his adventure in the Scilly Isles, just off the southwestern tip of Britain.

Bray has been in St. John's since June 7, waiting for the right weather conditions: westerly winds. Wednesday 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, then, if the winds turn, I won't be pushed back to the island."

The 53-year-old former British soldier will row roughly 10 hours a day, or 35-40 miles, depending on the weather. Bray will sleep in a compartment in the bow, which he says gives him just enough room to lie down. He has 70 days' worth of food rations on board, which is dehydrated to save space, and a desalination machine that turns saltwater to freshwater.

"Porridge every morning," said Bray. "Strawberry, cinnamon and raisin. It is a good thing I love porridge."

He will have regular contact with his support crew on land through satellite communication. His 21-foot boat is made of fibreglass. In case of an emergency, he has a life-raft, a survival suit and a device that will give off a signal if he's in danger.

When asked what he will do in his free time on the open water, he laughs.

"What free time? Between eating, sleeping, rowing and sending my blog, there just isn't any time left over."

Bray said he has no superstitions and he doesn't get nervous until he is actually out on the water. That didn't stop locals from giving him some good luck charms, though.

"I have been given a whale's tooth, a doll, a kayak, a plaque and a rhyme," he said.

This is Bray's second attempt to row across the North Atlantic.

In 2004, he was among a team of four who left St. John's following the same route. When they were just days away from reaching their goal, hurricane Alex tore their boat in two. Bray was awarded the Royal Humane Society's bronze medal for bravery for saving another crew member's life.

Back then, his boat was named the Pink Lady.

His new boat? The Black Knight.

In 2001, Bray was also successful as the first person to kayak solo and unsupported across the Atlantic.

Being a former British soldier, Bray is also hoping to raise awareness for the Help for Heroes charity, which provides funding to wounded British servicemen when financial aid from the government runs out.

"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."

telegram@thetelegram.com

Organizations: The Narrows, The Telegram, Royal Humane Society Help for Heroes

Geographic location: St. John's, Britain, North Atlantic Atlantic Ocean Gulf Stream Scilly Isles

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Catherine
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    There's a ridiculous amount of negativity and sarcasm here!! I just wish this man all the best and instead of dwelling on the fact that he could or might have to be rescued before he's even set sail, I wish him all the best on his adventure.

    As for a comment made by Einstein that really was awful... do you own any cd's or records or listen to the radio? Do you watch t.v? Have you ever gone to the movie theatre, rented, or bought a movie?? If so, you have contributed to the Arts Industry. The next time you listen to your favorite musician think about the fact that without funding from their local community supporters they wouldn't have been able to make or promote their album. Making negative comments about the Arts is just ignorant.

  • Telling it like it is
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    I would just like to point out that if we listened to the keen insight of Brian, paul, Joanne, Just My Opinion and G the following events in history would never have happened:

    - Discovery of North America by the Vikings / Chris Columbus / John Cabot

    - The Moon Landing

    - Search for the Northwest Passage

    - First solo flight across the Atlantic

    - First solo flight around the world

    - First solo sailing around the world

    No, if it was up to these armchair critics, we would still living in the stoneage with any thirst of adventure or pushing human limits frowned upon.

    Nuff Said.

  • Give it
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Quit your crying. None of you have the balls to do it, and just think, people will be put to work earning those tax dollars you seem to only want to spend on yourself.

    What a bunch of hypocrites. The money that would be spent on any rescue would not be going to anything for this province and it's people anyway. Remember the Coast Guard is not owned by Danny Williams, but ALL Canadians. It is a Federal Service, not Marine Atlantic that only serves you.

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    To the negative minded Newfoundlanders, I would just like to say,

    All of you are predicting this guy to fail.

    This guy is predicting success.

    that is why HE IS IN THE BOATand YOU ARE ON THE SHORE!

    In the words of John F. Kennedy,

    ''we choose to ..... notbecause they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.''

    This guy is crossing the same Atlantic on his own, with his own power for the same reasons. Not to be rescued by the Canadian Coast Guard, not to be rediculed by a bunch of naysayers who never once attempted to test their abilities above and beyond their limits.

    I bet all of your kids had dreams to be astronauts or doctors before you shot them down and told them what a stupid idea that was and how it was easier and better just to be average.

    To think you come from the same province as the Royal Newfoundland Regiment of 1914-1918, I bet all of you would have never had the guts to sign up.

    PATHETIC.

  • Just-my-opinion
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    Brian poses a great question. To many idiots try this stuff only to have the Coast Guard go rescue them. What happens if there is a true rescue required while the Coast Guard is tied up with this idiot?

  • Ted
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    Steve from Edmonton,

    No one is wishing this guy any bad luck. I hope he makes it successfully across the pond but if he needs to be rescued, then he or his country should foot the bill for the rescue. He, and many before him, have tried this stunt countless times and had to be rescued. Keep in mind, we are a seagoing province, and as such we have a long history and appreciation of maritime disasters. Many of our people make their living on the sea. I don't want to see any of my fellow NFLDers put in jeopardy because rescue was delayed or inhibited by this character.

    You and others seem to liken this guy to Christopher Columbus or Neil Armstrong. However, you're missing one key point: the Atlantic crossing has been done before, this is not uncharted territory, but rather some guy fighting off a mid-life crisis trying to prove something, which has already been proven.

  • blair
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    St johns gets FREE world wide advertising for this stunt. You should shake his hand and wish him well instead of whinning about canadas rescue fee.

  • Robert
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    I wish Brian luck , My prayers are with him. Some people will always find negetive in everything

  • Brian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    While it's nice and I wish him all the best, who will pay the cost of his rescue if the Coast Guard is called?

  • Snaggymitty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    He wants to break the record and I say, good for him. I love to see records broken, it's exciting!

    Whoever needs rescuing will be rescued whether it's a man rowing a boat or climbing Mount Everest. If they aren't rescued then it's a tragic story of loss.

    And to Steve from Edmonton -

    Why do you feel the need to consider these comments as the negative minded Newfoundlanders - there are as many positive comments as there are negative ones here.

    I'm willing to bet that you would get similar comments to a similar story in Alberta, Ontario, BC, etc. this is not exclusive to Newfoundlanders.

  • G
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Hey Give It Up Girls;

    From your comment you must have the ball to row across the Atlantic, hey?? Please tell us when you actually did this or are you just blowing smoke? I'll bet you couldn't row in the Regatta.

    Yes, the Coast Guard is owned by All Canadians , isn't this idiot a Brit? If, and when he gets picked up he should pay the Canadian Govt. for their services. This stuff isn't cheap.

  • Einstein
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Just-my-opinion from NB writes: Brian poses a great question. To many idiots try this stuff only to have the Coast Guard go rescue them. What happens if there is a true rescue required while the Coast Guard is tied up with this idiot?

    So you think that if this person puts in a distress call, they will send every deployable coast guard vehicle? lol how simple minded you must be. There would be one chopper deployed, and the person who will bare the biggest financial burden would be the man who just lost his expensive boat, not the pennies that each taxpayer pays. If your going to condemn this guy for having a dream, and attempting something amazing/crazy, then why don't you rag on the government for wasting money on stuff like folk festivals, music and other useless arts programs around town?

    Arts, now THAT is a waste of money and resources

  • Brian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    blair from ab writes: St johns gets FREE world wide advertising for this stunt. You should shake his hand and wish him well instead of whinning about canadas rescue fee.

    Since you put it that way... Okay then! (It's a good thing a a a cowpoke from AB read this article)

    I guess this stunt will change the EU's mind about the seal hunt ..
    How ungrateful of us! Thank you Mr. Bray and Blair from AB ... Wow!

  • DeeBee
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    What a bunch of whiny grouches on here, concerned about who's paying for a 'potential' rescue. It's not coming directly out of your pocket, so don't worry about it. Politicians and union bosses take more from Newfoundland's public coffers than someone attempting this Atlantic crossing... for a worthwhile cause, I might add. And he seems to know what he's doing, so if he's successful, it won't cost anything. Grow up, for God's sake! It makes me sick to think I'm from the same province as most of you here. Get your heads out of your arses and try to look for the positive in life once in a while, will ya? Geez... what a dark cloud perpetually hanging over Newfoundland... are all of you so miserable you can't be supportive of this man's endeavour? If he does get into trouble and the Coast Guard CAN'T rescue him and he dies, what then? Will you be happy because of it?

  • Danielle
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    I commend his bravery and wish that everyone could have as much drive and optimism as this man. All we hear is money, money, money. It makes me happy to know that when it is all said and done, this man who will have lived on food rations in basically a cell all alone in the Atlantic will feel more satisfaction and fulfillment than any of you will because you saved your tax payers dollars.

  • Brian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    I have to laugh at all you people who believe we should foot the bill for a rescue; the cost of a rescue should be figured in with the individual's overall cost of the attempt, the same as his boat.

    Einstein from NL says a chopper will be deployed and simply pooh pooh's the cost. Okay Mr. Einstein, let's say a chopper is deployed and at the same time, that chopper is needed to rescue an injured hard working CANADIAN taxpaying crew member of a burning fishing boat, are you okay with sacrificing his/her life for this?

    Its' amazing how free you narrow minded do gooders are with the lives and money of Canadian taxpayers just because someone wants to put his life and the lives of rescuers at risk for personal fame.

    And you all say that as if the Cougar Helicopter tragedy never occurred.

  • Joanne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    I wish him safety and success, but if anything should go wrong, once again taxpayers have to pay the bill.

  • Heather
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    I wish Peter luck too - but I do worry about NL footing the bill again - when and if he does not make it and has to be rescued. Shouldn't these people be forced to have some sort of insurance to cover this cost, in case the service is required. Doesn't anyone have an answer to this, rather than complaining, and bickering between each other?

  • Ted
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    I don't bleieve that the Canadian taxpayer should foot the bill for a rescue. It should be charge to their country of origin.

    Passsengers who take ill on airline flights which are then directed to this province have to pay the medical bills. The bill is sent to them, or the government of their country of origin. Given this, I don't know why a similar arrangement isn't in place for these adventurer's when they get into trouble.

  • Les
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Actually, he's the responsibility of the Canadian Coast Guard as far as 30 degrees North, then the Falmouth and British Coast Guard are responsible for him. Don't worry about it.

  • paul
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    My thoughts exactly. we see this every year, guys trying to float across the Atlantic in a paper cup at our expense. Do they need to do the Boaters's Certification Course I wonder?

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    This gentleman has already successfully rowed the Atlantic at least twice and was within reach for a 3rd crossing. He is obviously experienced and knows what he's doing. The ones I'd be leary about are the ones who have no idea what they are getting into and are untrained. A good NLer would be able to row ount and rescue most of these in an hour or 2.

  • Cindy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    To Danielle: Oh, the poor, brave dear. Let's take up a collection for him. Better yet, why don't you foot the bill for a rescue if one is needed. Think of the pats on the back and the world wide thanks you would receive. I bet you would even get a call from Oprah!

  • Saucy Face
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Quoting John F. Kennedy? Free world wide advertising? The Moon landing? The Vikings? John Cabot? Christopher Columbus?

    Are you people for real or are you just friggin' nuts? Bail out everyone, we are surrounded by idiots!

    Incredible! LOL

  • Catherine
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    There's a ridiculous amount of negativity and sarcasm here!! I just wish this man all the best and instead of dwelling on the fact that he could or might have to be rescued before he's even set sail, I wish him all the best on his adventure.

    As for a comment made by Einstein that really was awful... do you own any cd's or records or listen to the radio? Do you watch t.v? Have you ever gone to the movie theatre, rented, or bought a movie?? If so, you have contributed to the Arts Industry. The next time you listen to your favorite musician think about the fact that without funding from their local community supporters they wouldn't have been able to make or promote their album. Making negative comments about the Arts is just ignorant.

  • Telling it like it is
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    I would just like to point out that if we listened to the keen insight of Brian, paul, Joanne, Just My Opinion and G the following events in history would never have happened:

    - Discovery of North America by the Vikings / Chris Columbus / John Cabot

    - The Moon Landing

    - Search for the Northwest Passage

    - First solo flight across the Atlantic

    - First solo flight around the world

    - First solo sailing around the world

    No, if it was up to these armchair critics, we would still living in the stoneage with any thirst of adventure or pushing human limits frowned upon.

    Nuff Said.

  • Give it
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Quit your crying. None of you have the balls to do it, and just think, people will be put to work earning those tax dollars you seem to only want to spend on yourself.

    What a bunch of hypocrites. The money that would be spent on any rescue would not be going to anything for this province and it's people anyway. Remember the Coast Guard is not owned by Danny Williams, but ALL Canadians. It is a Federal Service, not Marine Atlantic that only serves you.

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    To the negative minded Newfoundlanders, I would just like to say,

    All of you are predicting this guy to fail.

    This guy is predicting success.

    that is why HE IS IN THE BOATand YOU ARE ON THE SHORE!

    In the words of John F. Kennedy,

    ''we choose to ..... notbecause they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.''

    This guy is crossing the same Atlantic on his own, with his own power for the same reasons. Not to be rescued by the Canadian Coast Guard, not to be rediculed by a bunch of naysayers who never once attempted to test their abilities above and beyond their limits.

    I bet all of your kids had dreams to be astronauts or doctors before you shot them down and told them what a stupid idea that was and how it was easier and better just to be average.

    To think you come from the same province as the Royal Newfoundland Regiment of 1914-1918, I bet all of you would have never had the guts to sign up.

    PATHETIC.

  • Just-my-opinion
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    Brian poses a great question. To many idiots try this stuff only to have the Coast Guard go rescue them. What happens if there is a true rescue required while the Coast Guard is tied up with this idiot?

  • Ted
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    Steve from Edmonton,

    No one is wishing this guy any bad luck. I hope he makes it successfully across the pond but if he needs to be rescued, then he or his country should foot the bill for the rescue. He, and many before him, have tried this stunt countless times and had to be rescued. Keep in mind, we are a seagoing province, and as such we have a long history and appreciation of maritime disasters. Many of our people make their living on the sea. I don't want to see any of my fellow NFLDers put in jeopardy because rescue was delayed or inhibited by this character.

    You and others seem to liken this guy to Christopher Columbus or Neil Armstrong. However, you're missing one key point: the Atlantic crossing has been done before, this is not uncharted territory, but rather some guy fighting off a mid-life crisis trying to prove something, which has already been proven.

  • blair
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    St johns gets FREE world wide advertising for this stunt. You should shake his hand and wish him well instead of whinning about canadas rescue fee.

  • Robert
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    I wish Brian luck , My prayers are with him. Some people will always find negetive in everything

  • Brian
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    While it's nice and I wish him all the best, who will pay the cost of his rescue if the Coast Guard is called?

  • Snaggymitty
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    He wants to break the record and I say, good for him. I love to see records broken, it's exciting!

    Whoever needs rescuing will be rescued whether it's a man rowing a boat or climbing Mount Everest. If they aren't rescued then it's a tragic story of loss.

    And to Steve from Edmonton -

    Why do you feel the need to consider these comments as the negative minded Newfoundlanders - there are as many positive comments as there are negative ones here.

    I'm willing to bet that you would get similar comments to a similar story in Alberta, Ontario, BC, etc. this is not exclusive to Newfoundlanders.

  • G
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Hey Give It Up Girls;

    From your comment you must have the ball to row across the Atlantic, hey?? Please tell us when you actually did this or are you just blowing smoke? I'll bet you couldn't row in the Regatta.

    Yes, the Coast Guard is owned by All Canadians , isn't this idiot a Brit? If, and when he gets picked up he should pay the Canadian Govt. for their services. This stuff isn't cheap.

  • Einstein
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Just-my-opinion from NB writes: Brian poses a great question. To many idiots try this stuff only to have the Coast Guard go rescue them. What happens if there is a true rescue required while the Coast Guard is tied up with this idiot?

    So you think that if this person puts in a distress call, they will send every deployable coast guard vehicle? lol how simple minded you must be. There would be one chopper deployed, and the person who will bare the biggest financial burden would be the man who just lost his expensive boat, not the pennies that each taxpayer pays. If your going to condemn this guy for having a dream, and attempting something amazing/crazy, then why don't you rag on the government for wasting money on stuff like folk festivals, music and other useless arts programs around town?

    Arts, now THAT is a waste of money and resources

  • Brian
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    blair from ab writes: St johns gets FREE world wide advertising for this stunt. You should shake his hand and wish him well instead of whinning about canadas rescue fee.

    Since you put it that way... Okay then! (It's a good thing a a a cowpoke from AB read this article)

    I guess this stunt will change the EU's mind about the seal hunt ..
    How ungrateful of us! Thank you Mr. Bray and Blair from AB ... Wow!

  • DeeBee
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    What a bunch of whiny grouches on here, concerned about who's paying for a 'potential' rescue. It's not coming directly out of your pocket, so don't worry about it. Politicians and union bosses take more from Newfoundland's public coffers than someone attempting this Atlantic crossing... for a worthwhile cause, I might add. And he seems to know what he's doing, so if he's successful, it won't cost anything. Grow up, for God's sake! It makes me sick to think I'm from the same province as most of you here. Get your heads out of your arses and try to look for the positive in life once in a while, will ya? Geez... what a dark cloud perpetually hanging over Newfoundland... are all of you so miserable you can't be supportive of this man's endeavour? If he does get into trouble and the Coast Guard CAN'T rescue him and he dies, what then? Will you be happy because of it?

  • Danielle
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    I commend his bravery and wish that everyone could have as much drive and optimism as this man. All we hear is money, money, money. It makes me happy to know that when it is all said and done, this man who will have lived on food rations in basically a cell all alone in the Atlantic will feel more satisfaction and fulfillment than any of you will because you saved your tax payers dollars.

  • Brian
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    I have to laugh at all you people who believe we should foot the bill for a rescue; the cost of a rescue should be figured in with the individual's overall cost of the attempt, the same as his boat.

    Einstein from NL says a chopper will be deployed and simply pooh pooh's the cost. Okay Mr. Einstein, let's say a chopper is deployed and at the same time, that chopper is needed to rescue an injured hard working CANADIAN taxpaying crew member of a burning fishing boat, are you okay with sacrificing his/her life for this?

    Its' amazing how free you narrow minded do gooders are with the lives and money of Canadian taxpayers just because someone wants to put his life and the lives of rescuers at risk for personal fame.

    And you all say that as if the Cougar Helicopter tragedy never occurred.

  • Joanne
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    I wish him safety and success, but if anything should go wrong, once again taxpayers have to pay the bill.

  • Heather
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    I wish Peter luck too - but I do worry about NL footing the bill again - when and if he does not make it and has to be rescued. Shouldn't these people be forced to have some sort of insurance to cover this cost, in case the service is required. Doesn't anyone have an answer to this, rather than complaining, and bickering between each other?

  • Ted
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    I don't bleieve that the Canadian taxpayer should foot the bill for a rescue. It should be charge to their country of origin.

    Passsengers who take ill on airline flights which are then directed to this province have to pay the medical bills. The bill is sent to them, or the government of their country of origin. Given this, I don't know why a similar arrangement isn't in place for these adventurer's when they get into trouble.

  • Les
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Actually, he's the responsibility of the Canadian Coast Guard as far as 30 degrees North, then the Falmouth and British Coast Guard are responsible for him. Don't worry about it.

  • paul
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    My thoughts exactly. we see this every year, guys trying to float across the Atlantic in a paper cup at our expense. Do they need to do the Boaters's Certification Course I wonder?

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    This gentleman has already successfully rowed the Atlantic at least twice and was within reach for a 3rd crossing. He is obviously experienced and knows what he's doing. The ones I'd be leary about are the ones who have no idea what they are getting into and are untrained. A good NLer would be able to row ount and rescue most of these in an hour or 2.

  • Cindy
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    To Danielle: Oh, the poor, brave dear. Let's take up a collection for him. Better yet, why don't you foot the bill for a rescue if one is needed. Think of the pats on the back and the world wide thanks you would receive. I bet you would even get a call from Oprah!

  • Saucy Face
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Quoting John F. Kennedy? Free world wide advertising? The Moon landing? The Vikings? John Cabot? Christopher Columbus?

    Are you people for real or are you just friggin' nuts? Bail out everyone, we are surrounded by idiots!

    Incredible! LOL