Vet completes Atlantic row

June 04, 2021

Simon Lyddon, who runs Vine Tree Vets in Ross-on-Wye, has spent 42 days on a marathon voyage from the Canary Isles to Antigua.

The 12-strong crew left from Marina San Miguel, Tenerife on 22 March 2021 and successfully rowed the 2875 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean, arriving in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua on 03 May 2021.

Each of the 12-strong crew of the 12-metre-long Roxy rowed more than 1.5million strokes and burned over 5000 calories a day during the 42 day crossing. Simon lost almost 10kg - most of which was during the first week as he struggled to eat due to sea sickness.

And Simon, who has raised almost £15000 for MacMillan Cancer Support after suffering a devastating double cancer blow, is glad to be back on dry land.

“It’s without a doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I can’t put into words how I’m feeling right now. The sense of achievement is a little overwhelming. The journey was everything I wanted it to be - tough both physically and mentally but hugely rewarding and one thing is for sure, I wouldn’t be standing here at the finish line if it hadn’t been for each and every one of the incredible crew. What a gorgeous group of people who will remain lifelong friends. After catching up with my family, the thing I was most looking forward to was a good meal!” said Simon.

Dad-of-two Simon, a complete rowing novice, put in extra-long hours on his rowing machine at Vine Tree, which is part of IVC Evidensia’s UK network of vet practices.

Home for 42 days was a purpose-built boat, Roxy, and his fellow rowers, who are aged between 18 and 60 were are source of strength and solidarity on the gruelling journey. Simon added, “The kindness shown be each member of the team was the glue that kept us and the team together.”

The team dealt with seasickness, ocean storms, extreme blisters and callouses and Simon celebrated his birthday on board Roxy.  Simon’s wife Melanie posted an update on social media when they could see land, saying: “They’re in good spirits and have plenty of food left but he has put in some requests for food and drink items he has been missing (none of these are healthy!!). I hope the weather for the final days is kind to them - go ROXY crew you’re all amazing and you’re nearly there.”

The crew were welcomed by a flotilla of smaller boats with many of the crew’s families onboard and enjoyed a well deserved reception at the Antigua Yacht Club.

Congratulations to the whole crew, now dubbed ‘The Roxettes’ on a fantastic achievement - Charlie Pitcher, Dawn Wood, Louise Brown, Mark Collins, Ciara Burns, Sian Davies, Rupert Fenby, Sophie Hibbin, Ted Jackson, Ian 'Boris' Kentfield, Simon Lyddon and Cat Withers.