Galway man breaks sailing record after beating drink and drugs
Deep-sea diver Gavan Hennigan, 35, who was once a chronic alcoholic who smoked heroin every morning has broken records after he rowed across the Atlantic solo.
The Galway endurance athlete competed in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge and finished in third place in Antigua. Twelve teams took part in the race, and Hennigan finished third place, becoming the first solo rower to complete the 5,000km event.
Arriving in Antigua, over 49 days and 11 hours after leaving San Sebastian de la Gomera in the Canary Islands, he has taken over 68 days off the Irish record that was set by Sean McGowan in 2010. The 35-year-old has previously spoken about his attempts at suicide when he lived in a squat for 15 years, because he couldn’t accept the fact that he was gay.
Upon arrival at Antigua, he raised the Irish Tricolour to salute the large crowd gathered to watch him complete the race. “I’m so proud to have done this. Not many Irish have attempted a solo row across the Atlantic and I feel I’ve done it in style,” he said afterwards.
“The last seven days have been relentless. At times, I’ve rowed up to 19 hours a day and yesterday when I woke up, I decided it was time to finish this.
“I’ve rowed for the past 14 hours straight. This has been a life changing experience. I’ve experienced the beauty of the Atlantic sunsets and sunrises, the thrill of open ocean row boat surfing, the despair of driving headwinds and the joy of arriving back on land today.”
Gavan burnt about 8,000 calories a day and lost approximately 20 per cent of his body weight during the race, which started on 14th December 2016, from La Gomera in the Canary Islands.