Lymington half-brothers Greg Bailey (28) and Jude Massey (19) have completed their 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 the 18th January from Gran Canaria headed for 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 11th March at 5.15pm local time, finally stepping off the boat at 5.38pm. (9.15pm / 9.38pm GMT). Family and friends including their mother, Alexandra Massey and Greg’s girlfriend, Francesca Marzullo were waiting and cheering as they arrived.
So far they have raised a fantastic £82,000 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 mum Alex said
"When I said goodbye to them at the airport in Gran Canaria, I walked away thinking "will I ever see them again,” and to have them back safe is a dream come true! I am incredibly proud of them and their determination to continue through the worst conditions. The best Mother's Day present a mum could have."
Francesca, Greg’s girlfriend said, "It's so surreal to have them here and be able to touch them and have a conversation for more than five minutes. They look so different they look so raw and authentic, such beautiful souls."
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.
“The British Skin Foundation is incredibly lucky to have such determined and dedicated fundraisers as Greg & 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.” Matthew Patey, CEO, British Skin Foundation.
The courageous pair are due back in their native Lymington on Friday 30th March, courtesy of P&O Cruises on the Britannia which leaves Barbados on Saturday 17th March.
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.
For further information, interviews and images please contact:
Lisa Bickerstaffe on 020 7391 6347
The British Skin Foundation is the only UK charity dedicated to raising funds for all skin diseases and skin cancer research. Our unwavering commitment to funding quality research means we won’t stop until we’ve found cures for common skin problems like eczema and acne through to potential killers like malignant melanoma. To date we’ve raised £16 million to fund research projects since 1996.