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28 October 2014

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The crew of 'All Relative' in La Gomera
The crew of 'All Relative' in La Gomera

Devon rowers set a storming pace

Four rowers from the fishing village of Beer in East Devon are heading for a record in the Atlantic Rowing Race.

Family ties may be a the secret weapon which is powering the four-man crew of 'All Relative' in one of the world's toughest nautical challenges.

Flying the flag for Devon are brothers Justin and Robert Adkin, who are rowing alongside their cousins Martin Adkin and James Green in the Atlantic Rowing Race.

They look certain to claim victory in a 24ft boat designed by Phil Morrison and built by team member Justin in Exmouth.

With just 469 miles (754km) to go, the boys from Beer are 750 miles (1,207km) ahead of the next boat. They are due to cross the finish line early on Sunday, 8th January.

Martin, Justin, James and Robert
Martin, Justin, James and Robert

Their progress since the start on 30th November puts them in reach of beating the race record of 40 days set by a New Zealand team in 2003.

Right from the start the crew of 'All Relative' have set a storming pace and have left all the others in their wake. Only bad weather or a serious problem can stop the Beer boys now.

Justin said: "We've been rowing even harder as Martin, the youngest person to row the Atlantic, turns 20 on Saturday."

Relatives of the Devon four are flying out to Antigua to welcome them.

Twenty six teams from all around the world are taking part in the Atlantic Rowing Race 2005 - a non-stop unaided crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

The race takes them 2,550 nautical miles from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the West Indies. Teams are competing in purpose built ocean rowing boats across three different classes: solo, pairs and fours.

Team training in Torbay
Team training in Torbay

Competitors include British Olympic rowing gold medallist James Cracknell partnered by TV presenter Ben Fogle.

The world record for the route is 36 days and 59 minutes, set last year by the Devon quartet of Phil Langman Shaun Barker, Jason Hart and Yorkie Lomas.

The competitors, many of whom had little or no rowing experience, have been battered by storms and living off ration pack food.

For the All Relative crew it's something new.

"We've never done any open ocean racing before," said Justin.

"We've done quite a lot of coastal rowing and we've been training hard with our new boat. But we'll be rowing against people who have rowed on rivers and lakes so in that respect we have more experience."

If the Devon team are successful, Martin (19) will become the youngest ever person to complete the crossing.

The team have been preparing for the event for the past 12 months and have benefited from a specially devised physical training programme at the Cranford Sports Centre in Exmouth.

"I have a lot of faith in our boat and all the guys know each other inside out," added Justin. "So I can't foresee any problems unless we're caught out by extremely bad weather.

"We've been fine-tuning the boat since she was launched in May. But this isn't a challenge for the faint hearted and we are expecting to be pushed to the limit.

"If the weather conditions aren't right we don't stand a chance of breaking the world record. But given the amount of training we've done, we have the potential to give the record a good shot."

Both James and Justin are crew members of the Exmouth offshore lifeboat and the team will be raising funds towards a new boat house as part of the challenge.

last updated: 04/01/06
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