mixed emotions | 

Irish man rowing from New York to Galway rescued just short of finish line after 112 days at sea

Damian Browne started the adventure, titled Project Power, in Manhattan on Tuesday, June 14 at 3.10am

Power paddle: Fergus Farrell (front) and former rugby player Damian Browne training for their trip from New York to Galway earlier this year

Seoirse MulgrewIndependent.ie

An Irishman has become the first person in history to row from New York to Galway after 112 days at sea.

Former professional rugby player Damian Browne came ashore on the rocks at Furbo Beach, just short of The Port Of Galway this morning.

Mr Browne started the adventure, titled Project Power, in Manhattan on Tuesday, June 14 at 3.10am.

The Instagram page dedicated to the adventure issued an update this morning and said Mr Browne came into some difficulty and was forced ashore near Furbo Beach just before 1am.

It said the Valentia Coast Guard, gardaí and the Emergency First Responders quickly arrived on the scene and brought Mr Browne to safety.

The post said it was “with mixed emotions we need to tell you” that earlier this morning after 2,686 hours at sea and over 3,450 nautical miles rowed, Mr Browne became the first person in history to row from New York to Galway.

“Having left Chelsea Piers, Manhattan on Tuesday, June 14, at 03.10 am, Damian had spent almost 16 weeks or 112 days at sea, fighting mother nature every step of the way and eventually in the last hours of this epic, unforgiving undertaking mother nature had her way and forced Damian ashore in precarious circumstances on the rocks at Furbo Beach, Galway,” the post said.

“Damian immediately called Chris Martin, the Project Empower land support officer, who in turn contacted the relevant emergency services who mobilised immediately.

“First on the scene were Garda Micheál Ó Ráinne, from An Spidéil, Garda Vincent Kelly from Indreabhán and Garda Eoin O’Malley from Carna who found Damian and Cushlamachree on the rocks and helped Damian to safety.

“Damian and The Project Empower team would like to express their sincere gratitude to the emergency services and in particular the Valentia Coast Guard, the Gardaí and the Emergency First Responders who looked after Damian so well.”

The post said that while Mr Browne was “gutted not to have made it to the port Of Galway”, he is now “reunited with his family and in good spirits”.

“He is very much looking forward to celebrating his amazing achievement with the people of Galway at his homecoming which takes place as planned, later this morning at 11am in Galway Docks when we hope you will all be present to celebrate the successful completion of this mammoth adventure with one of the world's premier ocean rowers,” the post said.

Mr Browne began the journey with his friend Fergus Farrell, as they aimed to break a world record while also raising money for charity.

The duo hoped to break the world record by rowing the North Atlantic in just 55 days, but unfortunately, Mr Farell had to call it quits after two weeks at sea.

He became ill on board and had to be taken off the boat to receive medical attention due to severe exhaustion, which was made worse by a recent spinal injury and collapsed lung.

His friend continued on his own, however, and he’s been documenting the journey on social media.

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