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72-year-old breaks three world records in solo trans-Atlantic rowing trip

Graham Walters was listed Wednesday as having broken three Guinness World Records for his solo trans-Atlantic rowing trip. Photo courtesy of Guinness World Records.
Graham Walters was listed Wednesday as having broken three Guinness World Records for his solo trans-Atlantic rowing trip. Photo courtesy of Guinness World Records.

April 30 (UPI) -- A 72-year-old man has broken three world records in completing his solo trans-Atlantic rowing trip.

Graham Walters is not only the oldest person to row across the same ocean multiple times, but he also is the oldest person to row across the Atlantic solo and the oldest person to row across any ocean solo, according to Guinness World Records.

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He set off in late January, before the coronavirus became a pandemic from the Spanish island, Gran Canaria, for the 13-week, 3,000-mile trip, and arrived in the English Harbor in Antigua on Wednesday.

The British rower was 72 years and 192 days old when he completed the trip, Guinness World Records said.

He beat the record held by Frenchman Gerard Marie, 66, who rowed across the Atlantic in 2015, CNN reported. Walters faced several challenges.

"At the start of the crossing, the weather was cold and wet and miserable so my spirits got quite low, but once the sun came out when I got to the Atlantic everything was fine," Walters told CNN.

However, Walters said the weather caused problems later on, especially at the end of his trip, when the Coast Guard towed him in because strong winds were blowing him in the opposite direction.

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"As I was at such a critical point, I had to face the fact that if I didn't take up their offer then I would miss Antigua," he said. "But I'm delighted to have arrived and it was great to have such a fantastic welcome."

Still, Walters said he was shocked when his wife updated him on the coronavirus crisis.

"Nothing like this has ever happened in our lifetime, so it's been hard to imagine what kind of world I would be returning to," he said.

Since he landed in Antigua, he's been wearing a mask amid restrictions because of the pandemic.

Walters previously rowed the Atlantic four times, including three times solo and twice in two-person boats.

He rowed solo to raise funds for the U.K. military veterans charity, Help for Heroes.

As a retired carpenter, Walters built the boat he used for the trip and named it Geary, after his grandfather, George Geary, a cricket player in England who joined the Air Force during World War I.

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