Half-brothers Greg Bailey (28) and Jude Massey (19) have completed a 3,000 mile unsupported Atlantic Ocean row for the British Skin Foundation, setting a Guinness World Record in the process.
Jude is now the youngest person to have rowed any ocean in a team of two which has been verified by Guinness. They are also believed to be the first people to complete the crossing on a vegan diet.
They set off on 18 January from Gran Canaria to Barbados, aiming to raise £100,000 for skin cancer research in memory of their father, Peter Massey who suffered with skin cancer until his passing in 2015.
They arrived in Port St. Charles after 53 days at sea on Sunday 11 March, greeted by family and friends. So far they have raised a fantastic £86,500 and counting for the British Skin Foundation’s skin cancer research.
Greg said, ‘I just feel totally overwhelmed to be here in Barbados and even more so to have received such a wonderful reception from all our family and friends. I’m so happy that we managed to complete the challenge for the British Skin Foundation in memory of Peter and raise awareness of skin cancer at the same time.’
Jude said, ‘After 53 days at sea I feel really wobbly and I just can’t believe we’ve made it this far – it’s incredible. It also feels amazing to have a Guinness World Record and to have raised £82,000 for skin cancer research.’
Their journey has been tough as the duo battled through many challenges including:
- A dramatic capsize at dusk, spending 20 minutes in the water before scrambling back on board their boat.
- A broken water maker since day 4 – meaning they had to hand pump water for 5 hours every day to survive.
- Equipment failures including the GPS auto helm, meaning they have had to row with one arm and steer with the other almost the entire way. This also caused extreme back pain.
- Bad weather, 25 ft. swells, hallucinations, sleep deprivation, exhaustion, being followed by sharks after scraping barnacles off the bottom of the boat, plus both physical and mental pain.
- Greg (a junior NHS doctor) suffering from a rotator cuff tear (painful shoulder injury).
- A leaky boat and a constantly wet cabin.
However, it wasn’t all bad with the boys enjoying shooting stars at night, seeing wildlife such as whales, dolphins, flying fish and even picking up a stowaway bird (they named Pete) which stayed with them throughout.
Matthew Patey, CEO, British Skin Foundation said, ‘We are incredibly lucky to have such determined and dedicated fundraisers as Greg and Jude. They have tackled every challenge thrown at them by the Atlantic Ocean with true courage. The incredible amount of money they have raised will fund skin cancer research to find cures and treatments for future patients. Your dad would have been very proud.’
The brothers were previously novice rowers and decided to take on an ocean challenge due to Peter’s love of the sea. They wanted to show that it was possible to take on this type of challenge in a sun safe way (armed with sunscreen and UV clothing) and also on a vegan diet.
Their challenge has attracted support from HRH Princess Alexandra (the patron of the British Skin Foundation) plus Bear Grylls, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Andrew Triggs-Hodge OBE, Sir Ben Ainslie, James Cracknell OBE, Rob Da Bank and Chris Evans.