BREAKING NEWS: Kirdford rower smashes world record

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A BRAVE Kirdford man has smashed a world record to become the youngest ever male solo rower to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

Tommy Tippetts, aged 23, has conquered nearly 3,000 miles of merciless water since he left the Spanish island of La Gomera 81 days ago.

He crossed the finish line into the Caribbean Sea just after 12pm today (Thursday April 12).

Tommy will now head to Port St Charles in Barbados where his family have laid out Union Jack flags as they prepare to celebrate the massive success.

His proud parents flew out to the Caribbean island last week ready to be reunited after months apart from their son who has not been on dry land for quarter of a year.

Tommy has fought countless problems on his journey including weather so fierce he was forced to retreat to the island of Ferro in the Canaries where a volcano was erupting, just 50 miles from the start point on La Gomera.

Originally Tommy had been rowing as part of the Talisker Whiskey Challenge, but after re-starting, he had no choice but to continue the gruelling voyage alone.

During the final leg of his journey the rower said he took on what proved to be ‘one of the toughest days I have had to deal with’ due to strong winds and a current both in the wrong direction, making progress painfully slow.

Later that day his electric watermaker - a vital piece of equipment supplying his onboard fluids - broke down.

He was forced to use an emergency watermaker with a manual pump, producing four litres of fresh water after an hour of pumping instead of 26 the failed equipment provided.

But despite the string of bad luck, the rower remains in good spirits, tweeting an April Fool’s Day ruse that he would not be allowed into Barbados because he does not have the right paperwork.

“Been talking to Barbados Port Authority all day who say I do not have papers needed from La Gomera and will not clear me to enter,” the tweet read.

It was enough to trick Tommy’s mother, who said: “We had numerous calls and emails suggesting getting in touch with various authorities and offering accommodation in other parts of the Caribbean!

“At least it shows Tommy is feeling pretty relaxed even allowing for his watermaker having packed up.”

As the rower takes on the final miles of this mammoth journey, he has thanked all those who have supported him and the mental health charity mind.

To track Tommy, or for more information on how to donate, visit

http://www.soloatlanticrow2011.co.uk