AN Oxfordshire schoolboy is set to become the youngest person ever to row across the Atlantic.
Eoin Hartwright, from Didcot, is more than halfway through the 3,000-mile challenge with three companions.
On Friday he celebrated his 17th birthday in the middle of the ocean – with more rowing.
If he crosses the finishing line in Antigua, which he hopes will happen in early February, he will become the youngest person ever to row the Atlantic.
Speaking to the Oxford Mail from the Atlantic, Eoin said: “We’re on day 25 and it is all going well.
“I have wanted to do this for quite a long time. It was a very rocky road to get this far but when I get there I will be over the moon.”
Eoin, a pupil at The Oratory School in Woodcote, near Reading, originally planned to row with a fleet of other teams taking on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
But 24 hours after setting off with them on December 4, his three-man team was turned back because of bad weather.
He was “devastated” but refused to be defeated. He put out an appeal on the internet for rowers to help him and within 10 days a new team had been assembled. They set off on December 23 to try to catch up with the other 15 teams. He said: “The team has worked really well. We have got on well together.”
They caught up with the back of the flotilla on Wednesday while the first team had already crossed the finish line in Antigua last Tuesday.
They were held up for two days last week after being forced to drop anchor due to more bad weather. Eoin said he was pleased to get going once more.
The challenge takes about 42 days and Eoin and the team, Atlantic Quad, are hoping to reach Antigua by February 10 at the latest.
Watch Eoin talk about the trek
They are also using their challenge to raise money for a local good cause – Helen and Douglas House children and young adults’ hospice in Oxford.
Eoin added: “It is a local charity. I have heard a lot of good stories about what they do, so it seemed fitting.”
Back home on the family farm near the Ladygrove estate in Didcot, Eoin’s mum Kate has been following her son’s journey as closely as possible.
She said: “Those men gave up everything to jump on board for Eoin.”
She has been making a documentary of Eoin’s epic journey while looking after his brother Nico, four, and sister Lola, three.
To donate and follow the journey, go to atlanticquad.co.uk