Keeping it in the family proved to be a winning formula for four rowers from East Devon, who have beaten off competition from all around the world to win the gruelling Atlantic Rowing Race.
The four men from Beer are brothers Justin and Robert Adkin, and their cousins Martin Adkin and James Green.
They claimed victory in a 24ft boat designed by Phil Morrison and built by team member Justin in Exmouth. The boat, fittingly, is called 'All Relative.'
Not only did they win the race - they did so in a record time of 39 days, three hours, 35 minutes and 47 seconds. The previous race record of 40 days was set by a New Zealand team in 2003.
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 crew get a warm welcome|
The All Relative crew set a storming pace right from the start on 30th November 2005, taking the lead and staying there until they reached the finish line on 8th January 2006.
Both James and Justin are crew members of the Exmouth offshore lifeboat and the team has been raising funds towards a new boat house as part of the challenge.
After crossing the finish line, Justin said: "We are all so totally overwhelmed with the whole experience and seeing so many of our family and friends who have travelled out to see us arrive today is an amazing feeling.
"We are so pleased to have done this well in the race but the last week has been really difficult with the adverse weather conditions and our thoughts now go out to the remaining 25 teams still at sea.
"Stepping off the boat was just the strangest feeling, like being drunk without the alcohol. It seems that we now feel more comfortable on the boat than we do on dry land."
The Devon team was so far ahead of the other crews, that the second-placed boat isn't due in until 24th January. And there is cause for a double celebration because Martin, who turned 20 on 7th January, is the youngest person ever to row the Atlantic.
Twenty six teams from all around the world entered the race, which is a non-stop unaided crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.
|On dry land at last!|
The 2,550 nautical mile race started in La Gomera in the Canary Islands, and the finish line is in Antigua in the West Indies. Teams compete in purpose built ocean rowing boats across three different classes: solo, pairs and fours.
Competitors include British Olympic rowing gold medallist James Cracknell partnered by TV presenter Ben Fogle.
The competitors, many of whom had little or no rowing experience, have been battered by storms and living off ration pack food.
Having battled against three low pressure systems, two tropical storms and the tail end of a hurricane, the weather conditions during this, the fourth edition of the Atlantic Rowing Race event have been less than favourable.
The race is organised by Devon-based nautical events company, Woodvale Events. Managing director Simon Chalk said: "The Atlantic Rowing Race 2005 has been the most competitive race so far.
"However, as reserve RNLI crewmen and boat builders, the seamanship skills held by the four crew members on board All Relative has clearly shone through.
"Their dedication, teamwork and desire to win, has proved beyond all doubt to be the winning combination and as a fellow ocean rower, I am over the moon to be able to congratulate these amazing sportsmen on their arrival in to Antigua."
Photos: Woodvale Events Ltd.