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Damian Browne: Irish man completes historic row from New York to Galway after 112 days at sea

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Former professional rugby player Damian Browne is greeted by his wife Rozelle Bothma and daughter Elodie Browne as he arrives in Galway after becoming the first person to row from New York to Galway. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Former professional rugby player Damian Browne is greeted by his wife Rozelle Bothma and daughter Elodie Browne as he arrives in Galway after becoming the first person to row from New York to Galway. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Damian Browne began the journey with his friend Fergus Farrell (left) as they aimed to break a world record while also raising money for charity. Picture: Ray Ryan

Damian Browne began the journey with his friend Fergus Farrell (left) as they aimed to break a world record while also raising money for charity. Picture: Ray Ryan

Damian Browne’s daughter one-year-old Elodie is lifted in the air by her mother Rozelle as Damian became the first person in history to row from New York to Galway after 112 days at sea. Picture: Ray Ryan

Damian Browne’s daughter one-year-old Elodie is lifted in the air by her mother Rozelle as Damian became the first person in history to row from New York to Galway after 112 days at sea. Picture: Ray Ryan

Damien Browne arriving at Galway Port this morning. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Damien Browne arriving at Galway Port this morning. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Damien Browne arrives in Galway. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Damien Browne arrives in Galway. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Wellwishers cheer as former professional rugby player Damian Browne arrives in Galway after becoming the first person to row from New York to Galway. He spent 112 days at sea during his solo voyage across the Atlantic. Picture date: Tuesday October 4, 2022. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Wellwishers cheer as former professional rugby player Damian Browne arrives in Galway after becoming the first person to row from New York to Galway. He spent 112 days at sea during his solo voyage across the Atlantic. Picture date: Tuesday October 4, 2022. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Power paddle: Fergus Farrell (front) and former rugby player Damian Browne training for their trip from New York to Galway earlier this year

Power paddle: Fergus Farrell (front) and former rugby player Damian Browne training for their trip from New York to Galway earlier this year

Irishman Damian Browne has become the first person in history to row from New York to Galway after 112 days at sea. Picture: Ray Ryan

Irishman Damian Browne has become the first person in history to row from New York to Galway after 112 days at sea. Picture: Ray Ryan

Crowds turned out in huge numbers to welcome home Irishman Damian Browne who become the first person in history to row from New York to Galway after 112 days at sea. Picture: Ray Ryan

Crowds turned out in huge numbers to welcome home Irishman Damian Browne who become the first person in history to row from New York to Galway after 112 days at sea. Picture: Ray Ryan

Irishman Damian Browne has become the first person in history to row from New York to Galway after 112 days at sea. Picture: Ray Ryan

Irishman Damian Browne has become the first person in history to row from New York to Galway after 112 days at sea. Picture: Ray Ryan

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Former professional rugby player Damian Browne is greeted by his wife Rozelle Bothma and daughter Elodie Browne as he arrives in Galway after becoming the first person to row from New York to Galway. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

An Irishman has become the first person ever to row from New York to Galway after 112 days at sea.

Former professional rugby player Damian Browne came ashore on the rocks at Furbo Beach, just short of The Port Of Galway this morning and recieved a hero’s welcome from friends, family and wellwishers.

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Damien Browne arrives in Galway. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Damien Browne arrives in Galway. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Damien Browne arrives in Galway. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Mr Browne started the adventure, titled Project Empower, in Manhattan on Tuesday, June 14 at 3.10am.

Speaking this afternoon on RTÉ’s News At One, Mr Browne said the entire challenge was a “fight” from start to finish and he is glad to have his feet on “solid ground”.

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Irishman Damian Browne has become the first person in history to row from New York to Galway after 112 days at sea. Picture: Ray Ryan

Irishman Damian Browne has become the first person in history to row from New York to Galway after 112 days at sea. Picture: Ray Ryan

Irishman Damian Browne has become the first person in history to row from New York to Galway after 112 days at sea. Picture: Ray Ryan

He said it was a “special moment” to finally reach Galway and see his family and friends.

“I was alone since day 13 and it took 112 days so yeah, 99 days. You’ve got to appreciate and enjoy your own company to take on ocean rowing at the best of times even if you do it with somebody,” he said.

“The solitude wasn’t actually something that I found very testing because I’m that type of person, I do take energy from being in my own company, it’s more the difficulties I faced with the conditions.

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Damian Browne’s daughter one-year-old Elodie is lifted in the air by her mother Rozelle as Damian became the first person in history to row from New York to Galway after 112 days at sea. Picture: Ray Ryan

Damian Browne’s daughter one-year-old Elodie is lifted in the air by her mother Rozelle as Damian became the first person in history to row from New York to Galway after 112 days at sea. Picture: Ray Ryan

Damian Browne’s daughter one-year-old Elodie is lifted in the air by her mother Rozelle as Damian became the first person in history to row from New York to Galway after 112 days at sea. Picture: Ray Ryan

“I can’t explain how challenging the conditions were, obviously it’s the North Atlantic and it’s very changeable and every change I seemed to get was negative.

“Constantly hit with adverse currents so it was incredibly stressful because you would work so hard and put so much into getting one miles or two miles and then you could come off the oars for 15 minutes and you could have half of that mile wiped out and you’d have to put the head down again to regain it.

“I think the biggest effect it has is on your hands because you’re gripping a serious degree of force with the oars because they can be popped out of your hands very easily if you’re not careful.”

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The Instagram page dedicated to the adventure issued an update this morning and said Mr Browne came into some difficulty and was forced ashore near Furbo Beach just before 1am.

It said the Valentia Coast Guard, gardaí and the Emergency First Responders quickly arrived on the scene and brought Mr Browne to safety.

The post said it was “with mixed emotions we need to tell you” that earlier this morning after 2,686 hours at sea and over 3,450 nautical miles rowed, Mr Browne became the first person in history to row from New York to Galway.

“Having left Chelsea Piers, Manhattan on Tuesday, June 14, at 03.10 am, Damian had spent almost 16 weeks or 112 days at sea, fighting mother nature every step of the way and eventually in the last hours of this epic, unforgiving undertaking mother nature had her way and forced Damian ashore in precarious circumstances on the rocks at Furbo Beach, Galway,” the post said.

“Damian immediately called Chris Martin, the Project Empower land support officer, who in turn contacted the relevant emergency services who mobilised immediately.

“First on the scene were Garda Micheál Ó Ráinne, from An Spidéil, Garda Vincent Kelly from Indreabhán and Garda Eoin O’Malley from Carna who found Damian and Cushlamachree on the rocks and helped Damian to safety.

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Damien Browne arriving at Galway Port this morning. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Damien Browne arriving at Galway Port this morning. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Damien Browne arriving at Galway Port this morning. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

“Damian and The Project Empower team would like to express their sincere gratitude to the emergency services and in particular the Valentia Coast Guard, the Gardaí and the Emergency First Responders who looked after Damian so well.”

The post said that while Mr Browne was “gutted not to have made it to the port Of Galway”, he is now “reunited with his family and in good spirits”.

Mr Browne began the journey with his friend Fergus Farrell, as they aimed to break a world record while also raising money for charity.

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Damian Browne began the journey with his friend Fergus Farrell (left) as they aimed to break a world record while also raising money for charity. Picture: Ray Ryan

Damian Browne began the journey with his friend Fergus Farrell (left) as they aimed to break a world record while also raising money for charity. Picture: Ray Ryan

Damian Browne began the journey with his friend Fergus Farrell (left) as they aimed to break a world record while also raising money for charity. Picture: Ray Ryan

The duo hoped to break the world record by rowing the North Atlantic in just 55 days, but unfortunately, Mr Farrell had to call it quits after two weeks at sea.

He became ill on board and had to be taken off the boat to receive medical attention due to severe exhaustion, which was made worse by a recent spinal injury and collapsed lung.

His friend continued on his own, however, and he’s been documenting the journey on social media.


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