Rowing Marine’s Record Challenge

On the 18th January at approximately 9.00 am, with Ocean Village Marina as one of the lead sponsors in Gibraltar, a very brave man, known as the ‘Rowing Marine’, will set off in a 7-meter-long ocean rowing boat, appropriately named ‘Hope’. He will attempt to become the world’s first physically disabled person to row solo and unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean from Ocean Village Marina in Gibraltar to Venezuela in South America a distance of 3,500 miles.

Dwarfed by the Superyachts and other luxury crafts in the Marina, Lee Spencer will endeavour to set a new Guinness World Record. Not content with one world record, Lee will also attempt to beat the current able-bodied record of 96 days, 12 hours and 45 minutes, gaining a second Guinness World Record.

Lee ‘The Rowing Marine’ is on a personal mission to challenge the perceptions around disabilities. This is a man who served 24 years in The Royal Marines without suffering any life changing injuries, who simply pulled over to help a motorist on the M3 while off duty when his life changed forever.

Lee was born in Dagenham, lives in Devon, but made in the Royal Marine’s. Despite surviving 24 years as a Marine and three operational tours of Afghanistan unscathed, Lee lost his right leg when he stopped to help a motorist in 2014. Lee was hit by flying debris as he made his way to the stricken vehicle and his right leg was severed in the impact.

Lee commented: “I am delighted to be supported by Ocean Village Marina. This is such a personal endeavour for me and I don’t believe anyone should be defined by something they can’t do or their limitations. It’s about rediscovering who you are, not redefining who you are and being labelled. Disabilities vary and they aren’t just physical either, I hope I am able to inspire all those who seek to rediscover themselves and raise awareness and funds for two very worthy charities who have supported and inspired me”.

During this feat of extraordinary physical and mental endurance, Lee will battle 30 foot waves and 3,500 miles of unpredictable Ocean in nothing more than a 7 metre long ocean rowing boat. Suffering from sleep deprivation, extreme fatigue, sea-sickness, fear and solitude Lee will be out of helicopter range and totally unsupported on the water.

William Bowman, Ocean Village Marina Director, commenting on the challenge said: “Having rowed across the Atlantic as part of a team of four disabled rowers in recent years you might imagine that would be enough of a contest for any individual. But Lee is not just any individual, he is a truly inspirational person that continues to go to extraordinary lengths to raise money for projects that he is passionate about. We are delighted and hugely proud here at Ocean Village Marina that he has chosen this venue to start his remarkable record challenges.”

Ocean Village offers an open invitation for members of the public to come down and wave Lee off on his epic journey and wish him God speed as he battles with all that the Atlantic Ocean will undoubtedly throw at him. It is wholly appropriate that Lee is starting his challenge here with the impressive backdrop of The Rock as the Royal Marines and Gibraltar have enjoyed an enduring relationship for over 300-years. It remains the scene of one of their greatest achievements of all time when they played the heroic and vital role of capturing Gibraltar for the British an event still commemorated on the insignia of Royal Marine Commandos.

Lee enjoyed a cup of tea and chat with Prince Harry ahead of leaving the UK on the 4th of January for final preparations in becoming the world’s first physically disabled person to row solo and unsupported from mainland Europe to mainland South America on behalf of The Endeavour Fund and the Royal Marines Charity.

Upon meeting Prince Harry, Lee commented: “Prince Harry’s support and the work he and the Endeavour Fund do has made a very big difference to many people’s lives and in a very real way. When you meet him you feel an overwhelming sense of fellowship and I particularly respect the fact he has kept and will continue to keep wounded and injured servicemen and women in the nations conscience and that he genuinely cares. I am extremely proud to be able to raise awareness of the Endeavour Fund and the work they do in supporting the recovery of servicemen and women. I am very grateful that I have had the opportunity to share the details and reasons why I am doing my challenge with Prince Harry directly. It has made me incredibly proud and determined and I will carry with me his words of support across every one of the 3,500 Atlantic ocean miles I am about to face. I don’t believe anyone should be defined by something they can’t do or their limitations. It’s about rediscovering who you are, not redefining who you are and being labelled. I hope I am able to inspire all those who seek to rediscover themselves and raise awareness and funds for two very worthy charities who have supported and inspired me.”

Lee feels passionately about helping keep wounded, injured and sick 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.

[Read more about Lee and his inspirational journey in our January article Lean, Mean, Rowing Marine.]

For further details contact sandra.lamplough@oceanvillage.gi or telephone +350 200 40048.