UK rowers’ bravery documented in recently-premiered film

‘Unstoppable’ celebrates Guy and David’s world record tale of endurance

UK rowers’ bravery documented in recently-premiered film

During the winter of 2021/22, Guy Rigby and David Murray became the oldest pair to row across the Atlantic. With a combined age of 124 years, the duo spent 53 days in a boat, before arriving at Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua to claim the world record.

Their impressive exploits was possibly the biggest story to emerge from their participation in the 2021 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, which is an annual crusade. Guy and David started their journey from La Gomera in the Canary Islands, then travelled more than 3,200 miles across the Atlantic Ocean.

Departing on December 12th, they survived the treacherous adventure that often included overcoming 20 foot waves, before reaching dry land again in early February 2022. And now, to celebrate this epic tale, there is a 62-minute film which documents their ground-breaking achievement.

Titled ‘Unstoppable’, this film premiered earlier this month, and it recalls the remarkable story of resilience and bravery undertaken by Guy and David. This gruelling 53-day expedition, within the confines of their vessel named The Entrepreneur Ship, also raised in excess of £750k for charity.

The previous world record – for the oldest pair to row across any of the world’s oceans – had been held by two former paratroopers, whose combined ages were 123. And speaking following the launch of ‘Unstoppable’, Guy, who is now 70 years old, said: “The toughest part of the journey was getting up every two hours during the night. 

“It was dark half of the time, and we had to accept three night-time shifts each. Once we were up, the night time rowing was reasonably pleasurable, because the sea tended to calm down. 

“We eventually got used to coping with four to five hours of sleep a day. And anyone who has taken part in an endurance event will know that it is all about mental strength and positivity.”

Guy’s day job had been as a chartered accountant but he admitted he’d always wanted to undertake a challenge that required sheer determination, skill, bravery and perhaps a little fear.

Guy had been a long-time friend of David’s late father, and he was delighted when David agreed to row across the Atlantic with him. As for reaching the final destination in the West Indies, Guy added: “We didn’t think about the finish until late in the race. 

“That would have been too frustrating. All we thought about was the next two-hour shift and rowing five nautical miles, followed by eating and sleeping. Due to adverse winds and currents, we rarely made that goal, but we did average over 53 nautical miles – and that’s more than 60 land miles every day.

“I thought I would get stronger and fitter as the rowing progressed but I experienced the opposite – although I didn’t realise this until I was back on dry land. My weight reduced from 12 stone to ten and a half. My calf muscles almost completely disappeared, making it painful to walk those first few days back on land.”

David, who is 11 years Guy’s junior, is already thinking about the next challenge. However, Guy admitted: “This is probably a one-off odyssey for me, but you can never say ‘never’.”

Andy Swales
Andy Swales

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