An Oswestry man has set a world record in a race across the Atlantic Ocean against his daughter.

Adventurer, Ian Davies, 64, gained the world record for being the part of the oldest team to row across any ocean in a race that see him beat his own daughter, Dani Jones and son-in-law Mark in what they describe as “the ultimate family challenge”.

The race from the La Gomera, near Tenerife to Antigua in the Caribbean, saw Ian pick up the record with his rowing partner Jim Ronaldson, 67.

“We weren’t unaware of the record but that wasn’t my main aim,” said Ian. “Initially I thought well it’s just record for being old, although a few people have pointed out that, yes, it’s for being old, but it is also for crossing the Atlantic.”

Border Counties Advertizer: Ian and Jim Pick up their world record certificates at a ceremony in London.Ian and Jim Pick up their world record certificates at a ceremony in London. (Image: Ian Davies)

This was the second time Ian has rowed the Atlantic having done so previously as part of a four-man team which helped inspire Dani, who grew up in Oswestry, and Mark, originally from Bridgnorth.

Although Ian ended up beating Mark and Dani’s team 66 days to 73 days, it was not the highlight for either of them.

"We were blessed to see some amazing wildlife, sharks, many different species of fish, sea birds, sea turtles, various types of whales and dolphins including a blue whale,” said Dani.

Border Counties Advertizer: Dani and Mark rowing in the Atlantic OceanDani and Mark rowing in the Atlantic Ocean (Image: Dani Jones)

“Six days before the finished we were surrounded by a pod of type two Eastern Atlantic orcas, some of the largest and rarest type of orca that feed mainly on dolphins and minke whales – the formation they surrounded our boat was a hunting formation.

“Fortunately, they realised we weren't a whale and after 15 minutes they moved on and continued heading north.”


Ian on the other hand enjoyed the isolation – “I stopped in the middle of the ocean 1,500 miles from La Gomera and 1,500 miles to go. The sea was three-and-a-half miles deep. The nearest human being was in the International Space Station 38 miles above us.

“I decided to go for a swim in the middle of the ocean. How many people have done that?”

Border Counties Advertizer: Dani and Mark when they reached the finish line in AntiguaDani and Mark when they reached the finish line in Antigua (Image: Dani Jones)

Both said the challenge was more of a mental challenge, despite boats weighing over a ton and Ian losing over three stone in weight over the crossing.

“I wrote on the inside of the cabin, ‘the only way off this boat is to row’,” said Ian.

Dani agreed and said: “Mentally it was being faced with situations we had absolutely no control over.

“Being stuck in a current going the wrong way, taking us back east towards Africa. Storms that were too strong to row against. Being away from our kids was a big struggle, every day at sea, was a day away from our babies.”

Border Counties Advertizer: Dani and Mark reunited with their children at the end of the raceDani and Mark reunited with their children at the end of the race (Image: Dani Jones)

There were also serious dangers for both by being incredibly isolated – with help being three days away even by helicopter.

“You put your life on the line,” said Ian. “If you have a storm, you have 30ft waves on the go and you think ‘whose stupid idea was this?’”

Both teams were raising money for charity, with Ian raising thousands for Myeloma UK, a charity very close to his heart.

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“I’ve done these adventures every three to four years,” said Ian. “I did the Mongol Rally from London to Ulaanbaatar in a £250 car, I have been part of the relay team that swam the channel in 2013.

“So I don’t think this will be my last adventure but I do think it will be my last row across the ocean.”

Dani, however, couldn’t rule it out – “The type of people we are we will always be looking for another challenge to raise money for charity. Life is too short- it’s important to enjoy life to the full.”