Devon

Devon team's Atlantic row on track after injury

Lawrence Walters and Tom Rainey
Image caption Lawrence Walters and Tom Rainey aim to become the fastest and youngest two-man team to row 3,800 miles from New York to the UK

A North Atlantic rowing challenge is to go ahead after a friend stepped in to replace an injured oarsman.

Tom Rainey, 23, and Sam Coombs, 24, had been in training to become the fastest and youngest two-man team to row 3,800 miles from New York to the UK.

But with less than three weeks to go until the start, Mr Coombs injured his back during a weight-lifting session.

Mr Rainey, from Salcombe in Devon, asked friend Lawrence Walters to step in for the charity challenge.

The Ocean Valour team rowers, who aim to start on 1 May, will be raising money for the Brain Tumour Charity in memory of Mr Rainey's father who died from the disease in 2012.

Image copyright Jonathan Morris
Image caption Tom Rainey will be raising money for the Brain Tumour Charity in memory of his father Luke who died from the condition

Mr Coombs said: "Being told my chances of rowing this year are non-existent is a bitter pill to swallow. However, Team Ocean Valour most certainly lives on. We still need to raise money and awareness for the Brain Tumour Charity; that is, after all, what we are all here for."

Mr Rainey added: "Sam has been a part of Ocean Valour from the second I asked him back in 2013, and I'm devastated not to finish it with him.

"But to have Lawrence agree to row with me at such short notice is incredible."

Experienced sailor Mr Walters, 23, who spent time rowing with Mr Rainey when his partner was away earlier in the year, said: "Tom had spoken to me at the end of last year about being a reserve for the team so the thoughts of rowing with Ocean Valour have been there for some time, although I never thought it would happen."

The current record was set in 1896 by Norwegians George Harbo and Frank Samuelsen, who made the journey in 55 days and 13 hours.

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