To have Lawrence agree to row with me at such short notice is incredible. I’m speechless! Lawrence is an incredible man fitting the role perfectly
Last minute back injury rules Exeter’s Sam Coombes out of ocean row record bid. Remaining crew member, Tom Rainey, recruits friend and former Team GB Laser sailor Lawrence Walters as replacement.
With less than 21 days to go until the start of their bid to become the fastest and youngest two man team to row 3,800 miles across the North Atlantic from New York to the UK, Salcombe based team, Ocean Valour have encountered their greatest challenge to date.
Sam Coombes was completing a weight lifting session when the injury occurred. Further checks including an MRI scan conducted by his orthopaedic consultant confirmed Sam’s worst fears. He would not be able to take part in this most extreme rowing challenge this summer.
Sam says “Tom and I have worked so hard to get the project this far, and for the last 2 years it has been the first and last thing I've thought of each day. 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.”
For the remaining team member Tom Rainey, who founded the team to row in memory of his father, Luke who died from a brain tumour in 2012, the news of Sam’s injury came as a massive blow. Tom says “When I heard the news it was extremely hard to comprehend, as I had gone from a secure and planned environment, to suddenly not knowing the future of the project which is incredibly close to my heart. 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.”
After a brief period of uncertainty Tom asked a long-time friend of his from when he was part of the Team GB Laser Dingy sailing team, Lawrence Walters. Lawrence who is an experiences sailor has also spent time rowing with Tom when Sam was away on business earlier in the year. After discussing the predicament with his managers at Engineering Consultancy firm Fraser Nash, Lawrence got the go ahead and called Tom who was already in New York City making final preparations.
Tom says “To have Lawrence agree to row with me at such short notice is incredible. I’m speechless! Lawrence is an incredible man fitting the role perfectly, and brings huge amounts of strength and knowledge to the team. I cannot wait to get on the ocean with him.”
Lawrence says “Tom had spoken to me at the end of last year about being a reserve for either of the team so the thoughts of rowing with Ocean Valour have been there for some time, although I never thought it would happen! I am honoured to have been asked and hope I can do justice to the oar handles of Sam’s I will be taking up.”
The new pair can now focus on making the final preparations to the team’s Axminster built ocean row boat “Yves” when she arrives in New York in less than a week to be ready for their planned departure on 1st May.
Chris Martin, Logistics and Media Manager
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