Rower Aodhán hopes to shatter world record

Written by Pete Davison.

Marlborough sportsman Aodhán Kelly (pictured on the far left of our photo) hopes to shatter a world record when he rows across the Atlantic Ocean in January as part of six-man team Atlantic Odyssey.

The specialist team of rowers and adventurers has been put together by Guinness World Record holder and skipper Matt Craughwell.

The aim is to be the first rowing boat to cross the ocean in less than 30 days - the ''four minute mile of ocean rowing" considered by many to be impossible.

The world record attempt will begin early in January 2012 and will take the team across the mid-Atlantic from Morocco in Africa to Barbados in the Caribbean, a route of over 3,000 miles.

The crew were selected from nine different rounds of competitive sea trials that began in April 2011.

The team that emerged from these trials has proved to be exceptionally strong both physically and mentally and have already formed a strong bond to take on the challenge together.

 Aodhán (26), a native of Dublin and a former member of the Irish national rowing squad will be the only Irishman in the crew. He works for Adam Matthew Digital, a publishing company in London Road, Marlborough.

He has been rowing since the age of 10 and is currently a member of Reading Rowing Club with whom he competed at Henley Royal Regatta this year.

 Aodhán is also raising funds and awareness for the children’s charity Plan International and their campaign called ‘Because I Am A Girl’ aimed at helping provide girls in developing countries with equal access to education.

He will be joined by the famous Scottish endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont who set the world record for circumnavigating the globe by bicycle in 2008 and the subject of a number of BBC documentaries.

The crew will need to row in a two hour on, two hour off shift pattern 24 hours a day for the entire crossing and will need to maintain a speed of four knots to complete the trip in less than 30 days.

The boat, named Sara G, is a specially designed 11 metre ocean rowing boat. It has three rowing positions and cabins at each end for berths. It will need to carry all the supplies for the entire voyage as an official world record must cross the ocean completely unsupported.

The team will be fuelled by each man consuming around 6,000kcal per day – more than twice the average for a normal man – but they will also expend around 12,000kcal per day which means that each crew member is likely to lose in the region of three stone in body weight in just one month.

To save dragging excess weight the team have packed just 35 days of rations for the expedition.

This venture is not to be underestimated as many teams have tried and failed to break the sub-30 day barrier and the first team to do so will achieve what has seemed for many involved as the unassailable mark in the sport’s history.

The team has a huge range of experience in the boat from many different backgrounds including experienced high level racing rowers, to full-time adventurers and hardy seamen.

This range of experience coupled with a very strong team ethic makes this one of the strongest ocean rowing teams ever assembled, say their backers. 

“As a rower I’m well used to pushing myself to the limits and beyond but the Atlantic is going to be something like I have never experienced,” said Aodhán.

“It’s something that I’ve felt I just have to do for a long time – it really captured my imagination from the start. I’m now looking forward to what should be the adventure of a lifetime and hopefully a name in the record books.”

To read Aodhán's personal account of training and the record bid, or to sponsor Aodhán, log on to