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Transatlantic Rower Damian Browne Makes History After Being Swept Ashore At Furbo In Force 9 Gale

4th October 2022
Transatlantic Rower Damian Browne's boat Cushlamachree on the rocks at Furbo Beach, Galway
Transatlantic Rower Damian Browne's boat Cushlamachree on the rocks at Furbo Beach, Galway

Transatlantic Rower Damian Browne is due to be welcomed at Galway docks this morning after he was swept into rocks in a force nine gale in the early hours of this morning.

The extreme adventurer was not injured after his boat Cushlamachree was forced onto a lee shore at Furbo west of Galway city shortly before 1am and he raised the alarm.

He had been making his way into Galway on the final leg of his 3,500-mile voyage from New York.

Southwesterly winds were gusting to 44 knots with a heavy swell.

The boat 'Cushlamachree' was forced onto a lee shore at Furbo west of Galway cityThe boat 'Cushlamachree' was forced onto a lee shore at Furbo west of Galway city

He was located by three gardai from Spiddal, Inverin and Carna and checked by paramedics before being taken to his parents' home in Renmore by MacDara Hosty. Mr Hosty said he was in good spirits.

A homecoming is still planned for 11 am at Galway docks.

A statement issued by Project Empower said:

On Tuesday, October 4th shortly before 1am Irish time after 2,686 hours at sea and over 3450 nautical miles rowed, Damian Browne became the first person in history to row from New York to Galway when he and Cushlamachree came ashore on the rocks at Furbo Beach, just short of The Port Of Galway.

Efforts will be made at high tide to refloat Cushlamachree at Furbo(Above and below) Efforts will be made at high tide to refloat Damian Browne's transatlantic rowing boat Cushlamachree at Furbo

Efforts will be made at high tide to refloat Cushlamachree at Furbo

Having left Chelsea Piers, Manhattan on Tuesday, June 14th at 03:10 am (GMT + 1), Damian had spent almost 16 weeks or 112 days at sea, fighting Mother Nature every step of the way and eventually, in the last hours of this epic, unforgiving undertaking Mother Nature had her way and forced Damian ashore in precarious circumstances on the rocks at Furbo Beach, Galway.

Damian immediately called Chris Martin, the Project Empower land support officer, who in turn contacted the relevant emergency services who mobilised immediately. First on the scene were Garda Micheál Ó Ráinne from An Spidéil, Garda Vincent Kelly from Indreabhán and Garda Eoin O’Malley from Carna who found Damian and Cushlamachree on the rocks and helped Damian to safety. Damian and The Project Empower team would like to express their sincere gratitude to the Gardaí and the Emergency First Responders who looked after Damian so well.

Tyres are put between the rocks and the fibreglass hull in a bid to prevent damage to Damian Browne's transatlantic rowing boat Cushlamachree at FurboTyres are put between the rocks and the fibreglass hull in a bid to prevent damage to Damian Browne's transatlantic rowing boat Cushlamachree at Furbo

While gutted not to have made it to The Port Of Galway, Damian is now reunited with his family, is in good spirits and is very much looking forward to celebrating his amazing achievement with the people of Galway at his homecoming which takes place as planned at 11 am in Galway Docks on Tuesday, Oct 4th when the hope is that there will be hordes of people present to celebrate the successful completion of this mammoth adventure.

The journey, which has been entitled Project Empower, is part of a fundraising effort for four charitable organisations: National Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, Ability West, Madra and The Galway Simon Community.

Those wishing to support Project Empowers charity partners - National Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, Ability West, Madra and The Galway Simon Community - can do so by visiting: http://www.idonate.ie/projectempower2022

Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Search and Rescue: True stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116 (2022); Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004); and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010). She is also co-producer with Sarah Blake of the Doc on One "Miracle in Galway Bay" which recently won a Celtic Media Award

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