Lee Spencer, the Rowing Marine, is pictured above as he set off from Portugal yesterday in a bid to become the first physically-disabled person to row solo and unsupported from mainland Europe to mainland America for a new Guinness World Record.
He is also attempting to beat the current able-bodied record of 96 days, 12 hours and 45 minutes, gaining a second Guinness World Record during his crossing.
Mr Spencer, who has spent over a year training and preparing his boat in Gibraltar, had hoped to leave from the Rock but had to switch to Portimao to make the best of a weather window in the Atlantic.
Stroke by stroke Mr Spencer, a Royal Marine veteran who lost a leg in an accident after three tours of Afghanistan, will be challenging the definition of disability as he rows the 3,500 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to Cayenne, French Guiana.
“I don’t believe anyone should be defined by something they can’t do or their limitations,” he said.
“It’s about rediscovering who you are, not redefining who you are and being labelled. I feel passionately about raising awareness of this and challenging these preconceptions.”
“Disabilities vary and they aren’t just physical. I hope to inspire all those who seek to rediscover themselves and raise funds for two very worthy charities who have supported and inspired me.”
During this feat of physical and mental endurance, Mr Spencer will battle 40-foot waves in a seven metre long ocean rowing boat.
Suffering from sleep deprivation, extreme fatigue, sea-sickness, fear and solitude, he will be out of helicopter range and totally unsupported on the water.
Mr Spencer feels passionately about keeping wounded servicemen and women at the forefront of people’s minds alongside challenging the embedded preconceptions that impact all those with disabilities.
The double Guinness World Record attempt will raise awareness and money for the Royal Marines Charity and the Endeavour Fund, which supports wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans using sport and adventurous challenges as part of their recovery and rehabilitation.
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