A former Fylde coast oarsman has braved tropical storms and agonising skin sores to successfully finish a race known as the world’s toughest rowing challenge.
Liam Browning, 30, who grew up in Fleetwood but is currently based in Scotland, was a member of the British team All Beans No Monkeys who finished an impressive sixth in the overall Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
The four-strong crew finished ahead of 20 other international teams when they crossed the finish line in Antigua, West Indies, in the early hours of Wednesday.
And while doing so they have also raised over £20,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, with more money yet to roll in.
It is not an event for the faint-hearted.
The aim of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is to row 3,000 miles across the southern Atlantic, from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean - in under 55 days.
It took the team 44 days, 20 hours and 22 minutes to complete the course and along the way they had to brave those tropical storms, 40ft waves, sleep deprivation, seasickness and excruciating body sores.
Delighted Liam (pictured second from left), a marine engineer who attended the former Emmanuel Christian School in Fleetwood, said afterwards: “That race was one of the toughest experiences in my life, but definitely one of the best.
“The sense of achievement when you cross that finish line is just the best.”
Liam’s parents, former Fleetwood couple Bob and Debbie Browning who now live in Cornwall, flew out to Antigua to meet him at the finish line.
Liam’s fellow crew mates were all pals he met while studying at Newcastle University - Stuart Markland (32), James Timbs Harrison (30), and James Kendall (33)).
They take their distinctive name from the university boat club’s motto, which basically means laying all efforts on the line and making no mistakes.
Skipper James Timbs Harrison said on the race: “Arriving into Antigua has definitely been one of the absolute highlights of the adventure.
“We’d recommend the Challenge to anyone just to experience the feeling we have right now at the finish line.”
He said their achievement was a testament not only to their hard working attitude, but their friendship too
During the race the teams row in shifts of two hours on and two hours off.
As well as all these harsh conditions the 2015/16 fleet also faced the first tropical storm to form in January since 1978 and the fourth in recorded history.
Talisker Brand Manager Sarah Fleming said: “We’re delighted for All Beans No Monkeys and their success in this formidable race.
“This year’s Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge has certainly lived up to its name of the world’s toughest row.”