Four members of Bexhill rowing club won the 2009 Indian Ocean Rowing Race (for teams of four) from Geraldton in Western Australia to Mauritius, a distance as the crow flies of 3132 nautical mileswhihc is over 4700 land miles. Rowing as the Row4Charity team on their boat the 29ft long “Bexhill Trust Challenger”, this massive endurance voyage took them a total of 68 days, 19 hours and 40 minutes after departing from Australia on 19th April 2009 at 03:00 GMT and finally arriving in Mauritius on 26 June 2009 at 22:40 GMT. The heroic crew of 4 were brothers Nick and Phil McCorry, aged 26 and 25, Matt Hellier, 21, all from Bexhill and Ian Allen, 26 from Sevenoaks in Kent.
In addition to making history by winning the first ever Indian Ocean Rowing Race, the team raised thousands of pounds for their nominated charity The Stroke Association and they also received local recognition for their achievement with a civic ceremony granting them “The Freedom of Bexhill” on 3rd August for raising the international profile of the town. This is the first time this particular civic award has been made in more than 40 years. The journey was not all plain sailing though as they limped accross the finish line woth a rudder tied on with strings and straps. Nick McCorry quipped “If that (the rudder) had snapped we wouldn’t have been coming in when the sun was up, we would’ve been coming in wherever the ocean took us!”. The team gambled early on by taking a more northerly route than other competitors.