£100,000 already raised as novice rower Henry Cheape’s monumental solo row odyssey for the World’s Toughest Row comes to an end in Antigua.
On 31 January 2024 and exactly 49 days 12 hours and 11 minutes (7 weeks) after leaving La Gomera in the Canary Islands on December 13, 2023, farmer and businessman Henry Cheape – who had not previously rowed before signing up to this monumental challenge in March 2023 – conquered the Atlantic to become the fastest Scottish solo rower, reaching Antigua and officially completing the World’s Toughest Row.
After a gruelling 3,000 miles aboard the PollyAnne – the R25 rowing boat that triumphed in its class for the 2022 Atlantic race – and with remote support from record-breaking ocean rower and weather router Angus Collins, Henry finally concluded his incredible oceanic feat and was cheered to shore by family and friends for the grand finale of what can only be described as ‘the adventure of a lifetime’, all in the name of sustainability.
“This has been by far the hardest thing I have done in my life. There were some good times, dark times and amazing times” – says an elated Henry, who reached Antigua wearing a clean white shirt and shorts and has already confirmed that all of his rubbish will be fully returned to the UK to be appropriately sorted and recycled – “but it’s the simple things which kept me going throughout my time at sea. Clean bedsheets to mark the halfway point; and shaving every day, no matter what was just one of the ‘everyday habits’ I felt helped me push forward when the waves looked overwhelming and the winds blew the wrong way.
“The meals we were able to prepare using many ingredients so generously donated by local suppliers which made them not only nutritious but interesting – and for this, I am truly grateful. From the food we grow on our farms to education that empowers people to lead sustainable lives, I believe sustainability is at the heart of a better future.”
Scotsman Henry – who is one of the visionary entrepreneurs behind the renowned farm shop Balgove Larder – tested his own self-endurance to spotlight the importance of sustainable practices while attempting to raise £250,000 in funds for conservation and environment charities.
Angus says: “What a crossing! Henry seemed to experience every kind of weather condition out there. He’s surfed down waves with 30knots of wind behind him, battled headwinds, got beaten up by crosswinds, and rowed in with no weather on his side at all.
This has been one of the hardest years to cross the Atlantic in the history of the sport, and Henry has approached the whole crossing with professionalism and open-mindedness. Soon we will find out how much weight he lost on the Atlantic, but what we do know is that he used up every bit of energy whilst out there.”
Henry continues: “When I reached the shore I was told we have already raised over £100,000 for our chosen charities, which made me realise how important this is to people, and that we are actually making a difference.”
“During the row, I received an incredible amount of supportive messages from friends, family, and so many people I have never met, and this really kept me going during the hardest times. Thank you so much to all who have taken the time to send their thoughts and to all who have donated and will continue doing so over the next few weeks – and now … I am so looking forward to hugging my wife and children!”
For further information about PollyAnne and for details on how to donate visit the Give Wheel page via this link and Henry’s social media channels, where people continued to send hundreds of messages of support throughout Henry’s time at sea.
Photo credit: World’s Toughest Row.