A high school biology teacher from Cincinatti has become the fastest person to row solo and unassisted west-east across the Atlantic, arriving at St Mary's harbour after just over 38 days at sea.
Bryce Carlson, 37, made landfall at 7.39pm yesterday (Saturday, August 4th) in a time of 38 Days, six hours and 49 Minutes, smashing the previous record for the west to east crossing of 53 days and eight hours by two weeks.
He was also the first American to row solo and unassisted across the North Atlantic and is believed to have made the fastest crossing of any unsupported rowing boat, regardless of the number of rowers - a record currently held by a crew of four.
Bryce set off from Newfoundland in Canada in his boat, named 'Lucille' after his grandmother, on June 27th. He spent $75,000 of his own money on the customised vessel, which he describes on his website as "the fastest and safest solo rowing boat in the world".
Bryce, who is also a rowing coach, was originally scheduled to finish his journey in Penzance but sea conditions forced a change of plan at around noon yesterday. However, his girlfriend Priya and friend Alex - who tracked the trip on www.brycerows.com - managed to catch a helicopter to the islands to be on the quay to meet him.
He was escorted into the harbour by a ladies' crew in the Czar gig from Tresco & Bryher gig club, who raised their paddles in tribute on arriving at the quayside.
An emotional Bryce, who capsized more than a dozen times, said of his achievement: "I was relatively confident that I would finish, I was not at all confident that I would be in a position to flirt with the record. So from the beginning I was thinking in my head this was going to be a voyage of 50 to 60 days, knowing that he fastest crossing prior was around 53 days.
"I wanted to think that if the stars aligned I’d be in a position to make 52 or something like that, but I’m not a professional athlete. I know others before me weren’t too, but it’s just to say that the preparation leading up to this was inherently compromised because I have a full time job."
Of his immediate plans, he said: "Have a shower and a good night's sleep. I haven’t slept a full night since late June so that sounds appealing. It sounds appealing to eat something that’s not on that boat." (Bryce was presented with a takeaway pizza from the On The Quay cafe as his first land-based meal).
He added: "On one of the last nights I was in St John’s, Newfoundland, I met a lovely British couple who overheard me talking about what I was about to do. They came up and slipped me £5 and said we have to buy you your first beer. So I’ve held on to that £5 and I plan to put it to put good use tonight."
The ultra-endurance athlete completed the 152-mile Spartathalon, an ultramarathon from Athens to Sparti in Greece, in 2014. He also ran a marathon every day, six days a week, for over four months in 2015 while Research Director for the 3,100-mile Race Across USA.
Asked about his next challenge, Bryce revealed that he is just looking forward to "going home and doing the more mundane things".
He said: "This project has consumed me for two plus years and all of those around me have borne the brunt of that, from my loved ones to my friends to my students to my athletes. So I think right now I’m just looking forward to being a good partner, a good friend, a better teacher, a better coach. And we’ll see what inspiration comes later."