'Roar like train and we were tumbling,' say transatlantic rowers

By Stuart Dye

"It wasn't supposed to end like this," said devastated transatlantic rower Tara Remington last night. "We are shell-shocked at the moment, but it could've been much worse."

Speaking to the Herald from satellite phone on the rescue ship Aurora, Remington said she and teammate Iain Rudkin were still coming to terms with what had happened.

The New Zealanders were plucked from a liferaft after their attempt to row the Atlantic Ocean ended in the cruellest of circumstances.

They had battled the elements for 46 days and nights, propelling themselves 3000km across the ocean in a boat just 1.8m wide. But with about 1800km left to go, and as the couple fought a leak in the hull, a wave capsized the boat.

The pair were exhausted and disappointed, but glad to be safe after the terrifying capsize which left Remington with facial and head injuries.

"I've got an eye like a prize-fighter and a terrible new haircut, but at least I've lived to tell the tale," she said.

The 35-year-old has had her head shaved and stitches put in a head wound she got as the pair were tossed around upside-down in rough seas.

Describing the moment that destroyed the pair's dream, Remington said they had been awake all night bailing water from the cabin and were "absolutely exhausted" and waiting for the rescue ship to arrive.

"Then we heard this roar like a train and the next thing we were tumbling through the cabin. We were hit with so much force. It was fortunate that Iain was all right and able to haul the liferaft out."

Remington said the Team Sun Latte boat had suffered more than its fair share of bad luck.

In the weeks before Monday's capsize, Remington and Rudkin had suffered chronic sea-sickness, a hurricane, a shark attack and then the leak - attributed to the shark's 15-minute attack before Christmas.

"We were thinking 'what else can the sea possibly throw at us?' and then we were capsized and that was our answer," she said.

The pair were second of the mixed crews and 11th overall in the fourth Atlantic Rowing Race when the sea dumped them from the challenge.

Remington revealed they managed to save some of the diaries, photos and videos thought to have been lost when they were rescued. In a rare stroke of good fortune, she had stuffed a camera, diary and video into a grab-bag moments before the wave struck.

Barring other rescues, the Aurora is due in Antigua within the next fortnight. Remington and Rudkin plan to fly back to New Zealand soon after.

And although the duo were devastated to be out of the race and unable even to finish the journey, Remington said the story might not be over yet.

"We've both got families and people who have supported us through the years leading up to this campaign and first and foremost we want to get back to them.

"But would we try again? It's not in the plan now, but I'll never say never."

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