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Home / Latest News / Welsh rower abandons 2,000-mile round UK challenge after travelling 100 miles in five days against fierce winds

Welsh rower abandons 2,000-mile round UK challenge after travelling 100 miles in five days against fierce winds

A Cardiff woman who aimed to row 2,000-miles around Britain has given up suffering seasickness and dehydration after battling winds and tides for five days.

Charlene Ayres, 23, was taking part in GB Row 2013, billed as the world’s toughest rowing race, with friend Sally Kettle, 36.

The pair, racing as the Coast Girls, had fought winds and tides in the Thames Estuary for five days after setting off from London’s Tower Bridge and had to be towed to safety at Ramsgate harbour by an RNLI crew at 2am yesterday.

Ms Ayres, of Cardiff, was taken by ambulance to hospital for a check-up. She is being treated for dehydration.

Ms Kettle, of Kingston-on-Thames, who has successfully rowed the Atlantic twice, said it was “with great sadness” they decided to drop out of the race.

The pair found they were constantly being hit by strong headwinds while the other five boats taking part in the challenge had raced 300 miles away near Land’s End.

After rowing for six hours, their 23-foot-long boat, Pendovey Swift, finally made it into the Straights of Dover on Wednesday evening.

They anchored four miles north of Ramsgate to wait for the tide to turn in their favour but both their anchors began to drag.

They lifted the anchors to try to move further out to sea and away from danger but the easterly wind was blowing them towards the breakers on the shore just 300 yards away.

In the early hours they called the coastguard and asked to be towed by the local lifeboat.

It brought an official end to their part in GB Row 2013 as under the rules competitors are not allowed any assistance during the non-stop race around Britain.

There are now five crews left in the race which lasts for 45 days.

The Islanders, made up of Josh Taylor, 24, and Alan Morgan, 23, from Mersea Island, Essex, along with James Plumley, 23, from Worcester, and Gavin Sheehan, 25, from Cork, are currently 20 miles in the lead after rounding Land’s End.

In second place is Team Hallin, a four-man crew led by ex-Royal Navy Commander David Hosking, who is in a close race with Oarsome Adventure – a crew of six from West Wales, skippered by Mikey Buckley.

The remaining pair in the race, Jason McKinlay and Josh Tarr, in Savoir Faire, are 25 miles from their home port of Salcombe in Devon.

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