British duo set new world record for Indian Ocean crossing

James Adair and Ben Stenning

A pair of British rowers have set a new world record after rowing over 3,100 miles, unsupported, from Australia to Mauritius

James Adair, 30, and Ben Stenning, 31, spent 116 days rowing their a £15,000 custom-designed vessel across the Indian Ocean – before narrowly escaping death on the final day of the voyage after capsizing under a massive wave just off the Mauritian coast.

The pair were flung into the treacherous ocean, unable to swim to the shore by powerful currents – before injuring themselves attempting to fire off emergency flares.

Fearing that the blood from their wounds would attract sharks, Adair and Stenning hauled themselves desperately across a coral reef, suffering further injuries on the razor-sharp coral.

After a lengthy wait, the pair were eventually found by a rescue party launched from the coast before being reunited with their anxiously-waiting families on dry land.

The feat is all the more remarkable given that Adair, from London, was completely paralysed in 1995 by a rare neurological condition – Guillain-Barre Syndrome – and the duo’s record-breaking trip was undertaken partly in aid of the Guillain-Barre Syndrome Support Group.

“Our members have been following James and Ben’s progress across the Indian Ocean and are very grateful to James for using this race to raise funds for the Group,” said GBS Chairman James Babington Smith. “We are delighted that they have completed the race and are greatly relieved to hear that they are safe and sound after their boat was capsized.”

“There were a few tears,” Adair told BBC News. “I suppose we will have to get back to reality in London now, catching the tube to work, topping up the Oyster card. Hmm.”