The Irish tricolour and the Galway and Connacht flags were due to be flown in Antigua early this morning as Galwayman Gavan Hennigan completed his mammoth Atlantic row, smashing existing Irish and international rowing records.
The 5,000km Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge started 49 days ago in La Gomera, a small island in the Canary Islands. At time of going to press on Wednesday evening, Gavan Hennigan is leading the solo category and is on track to break Irish and International Ocean Rowing Records.
He is set to complete the mammoth race early this morning. Hennigan (35 ) from Galway is third and not only leads the solo race category, but sits ahead of team boats of four, three, and two people. At the closing stage of the race he is being chased by an American boat of three.
Speaking early this morning from the Atlantic, Hennigan said; “I am focused on controlling the controllables. I know about the chasing teams but I cannot do anything about what they are doing. I can only focus on rowing my boat and pushing myself to the limit to get to Antigua as fast as I possibly can.
“My goal before this race was to be the first solo man home and to set a new Irish record. I am going to achieve that. I am fighting hard out here with my body and my mind. I am focused on the next stroke and the one after that. I have got plenty of water in front of me and I will be pulling hard each and every minute I have got left out here. I am gonna get to Antigua with style and raise that flare and tricolour high when I get there.”
Hennigan has proven himself a skilled and powerful ocean rower and has positioned himself perfectly to make his mark on the Ocean Rowing Society Records and the Guinness Book of Records.
The fastest Irish man to make the east to west crossing to date, was Sean McGowan who completed the crossing in 118 days in 2010. McGowan had technical difficulties during his race and finished with two broken oars.
The fastest Irishman to make the west to east crossing was Tom McClean in 1987 who completed the crossing in 55 days. On the international front, the fastest recorded crossing on the course from la Gomera to Antigua was by Matteo Perruchini who completed the crossing in 52 days in 2016.
It is hoped Hennigan will reach the Port of Antigua today. Full details on Advertiser.ie and on the Galway Advertiser social media.