Duo Breaks Atlantic Rowing Record

Students are the youngest to complete voyage

Luke Birch Jame Sparks Antigua

Luke Birch (left) and Jamie Sparks arrive in Antigua after rowing across the Atlantic Ocean.     Photo: Courtesy of 2 Boys in a Boat

On Monday evening, after 54 days of nonstop rowing, British students Luke Birch, 21, and Jamie Sparks, 22, became the youngest pair to row the Atlantic Ocean.

Participating in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, the duo left the Canary Islands, off the coast of Spain, on December 4 and finished in Antigua, in the Caribbean, on January 27. During their approximately 3,400-mile voyage, the pair rowed continuously in the face of 46 mph winds, lost their mattress overboard, and narrowly missed being hit by a container ship.

"Luke and I are very similar and we both had this goal. We would have done anything to achieve it," Sparks told the Lincolnshire Echo. "Luke is very tough and gutsy as well as stubborn. That is what you want when you are on the high seas."

Birch and Sparks, under the team name "2 Boys in a Boat," finished fifth overall and second in pairs. Despite eating 6,000 calories a day, the two lost 26 pounds each, but they raised the equivalent of $331,000 for the UK charity Breast Cancer Care in the process.

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