It is with huge regret that we have to report that the attempt by the dyslexic man and the autistic woman to row across the Atlantic has had to be abandoned.
200 miles into the Atlantic, Lizzie had a major mental breakdown probably due to her autism. Talisker, the challenge organisers, decided by satellite phone that she was a danger to herself and indirectly to Mark and that they must take her off the boat. The rescue crew was launched under sail and took 36 hours to arrive. Meanwhile Mark, with the emotional intelligence common to dyslexic people, kept her safe under extreme conditions.
Mark had originally decided to continue as a solo rower but the electrics were not working fully and in particular the AIS (Automatic Identification System). This alerts other ships to your presence and as the Atlantic is a main shipping route, it is not safe to be without one unless there are two of you with one being on watch at night, as this link demonstrates: https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/home/centerx:-12.0/centery:25.0/zoom:4
So, it was with a very heavy heart that Mark took Talisker’s advice to abandon ship along with Lizzie. They were collected by a yacht called Skye and circled Blue Steel twice while Mark played ‘Over the Seas to Skye’ on his bagpipes before heading for Cape Verde. Hopefully they will be able to get a flight home for Christmas. Blue Steel will make its own way to somewhere bordering the Atlantic.
Many thanks to all those who supported them in their challenge.
Click here for the background to Mark and Lizzie's challenge.