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British quartet finally complete Atlantic row after boat blunders

The team have raised £20,000 for the Movember charity by taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Four friends whose once-in-a-lifetime participation in a charity endurance race was nearly scuppered at the start line have completed their challenge.

Bristol-based Jon Lakin, 30, Mark Gibson, 29, and brothers Steve, 26, and Dan Baker, 29, spent two years planning their involvement in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge – dubbed the world’s toughest rowing competition – but were left “heartbroken” when their rowing boat sprang a leak, days before the beginning of the race.

The British quartet were left to watch from the start line in La Gomera harbour in the Canary Islands as more than two dozen other teams set out on their 3,000-mile trek across the Atlantic to Antigua in the Caribbean.

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Nuts Over the Atlantic - Jon Larking, Dan Baker, Mark Gibson and Steve Baker - cross the Atlantic in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge (PA Wire / Ben Duffy)

They eventually set off three days after their rivals, to be met with severe sleep deprivation and repeated equipment failure on board.

They arrived in Antigua on Tuesday in a time of 50 days, 20 hours and 31 minutes.

Mr Gibson said: “We’re so relieved to be here, the last couple of weeks have been simply incredible knowing that we were so close to Antigua and to being reunited with our friends and families.

“We had a lot of setbacks in La Gomera, and our team spirit was really low back then, but throughout the crossing we pulled together as a team, determined to reach our goal.

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The Bristol-based quartet Steve Baker, Mark Gibson, Dan Baker and Jon Larkin celebrate completing the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge (PA Wire / Ben Duffy)

“The day we saw whales was an incredible time and it really lifted us a team to keep going, and we hope we’ve inspired others to go out and take on their own challenges too.”

The team raced under the name Nuts Over The Atlantic in recognition of the Movember men’s health awareness charity they are supporting.

They have so far raised more than £20,000 for the fund.

The race was won by British quartet The Four Oarsmen in a record-breaking 29 days.

-To follow the race, visit Taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com

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