Debra rows across ocean into glory

She started her Atlantic crossing with her husband, Andy, but finished it after 113 days, alone, exhausted and triumphant. Denis Campbell charts the heroic voyage of a loser who won. She survived everything the Atlantic could throw at her: sharks, supertankers, 40-feet high waves, two hurricanes, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, extreme loneliness – and being deserted by her husband days into what was meant to be an epic joint adventure.

Despite her ordeal, she did manage to stay sane. She was lifted by the beauty of the sunrise each morning, messages from supporters and occasional contact with human beings, such as a 10-minute chat with the crew of a passing yacht who gave her fresh bread and chocolate biscuits.

Debra Veal celebrated the end of her gruelling 113-day, 2,963-mile, largely solo crossing of the Atlantic in a rowing boat, a feat that has led to her being lauded as Britain’s latest seafaring heroine. Competing in the race together had been their dream since before they got married in 1999.

Friends had advised them to get it out of the way before tying the knot.

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