Atlantic Challenge rowers return home after 96-day trial

Lauren Morton (left) and Hannah Lawton in the cabin of their boat Lauren Morton (left) and Hannah Lawton retired after 96 days in the 3,000-mile (4,828km) challenge

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Two students who quit a transatlantic rowing race after more than three months at sea have returned home.

Hannah Lawton and Lauren Morton said they had been plagued with problems during their attempt to complete the 3,000-mile (4,828km) challenge.

After 96 days they announced "with a heavy heart" they were retiring.

The friends, who met at the University of the West of England, have already said they are planning to try for the Atlantic Challenge again next year.

Atlantic rowers Lauren Morton (l) and Hannah Lawton The friends had been plagued by mechanical and electronic failures

Miss Morton, from Wetherby in West Yorkshire, and Miss Lawton from Stoke-on-Trent were among 17 teams taking part in the race from the Canary Islands to Antigua.

They left on 2 December hoping to become the youngest all female team ever to complete the challenge, but were forced to call it a day on 11 March while still 658 nautical miles away from the finish line.

Miss Lawton said they had faced "enormous storms and huge waves" but it had been amazing how quickly they had adapted to the environment and their 21ft (7m) boat.

The pair took part to raise money for Myton Hospice and Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, in memory of their friend Eleanor Rose Ellis who died of cervical cancer aged 23.

They were called "shining examples" of determination, courage and pure resolve by the race organisers.

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