A NORTHOLT skipper and a crew of five men were lifted to safety after their rowing boat capsized in the Atlantic Ocean last night.
Matt Craughwell and his team of four Brits and an Irish national were rescued at about 1am this morning (31) by a cargo ship just a few hundred miles from their destination, Barbados.
Headed by Matt, 33, (pictured right) who grew up in Northolt, the crew were 27 days into their world record breaking challenge to row across the ocean from Morocco to the Caribbean island in under 30 days.
All six men are reported safe and well but the exact details of how the boat came into disaster is yet unknown.
They were found clinging to a life raft that was tethered to their overturned boat, Sara G, and pulled aboard the Nord Taipei.
Matt's mum, Ann Craughwell, of Northolt, said she was "relieved" they were all safe and is waiting patiently to speak to her son later today.
Sharon Russell, a friend of the crew who was informed of the disaster after the Falmouth coast guard were received a distress call from Sara G, spoke to the Gazette this morning.
She said: "They've been picked up by a passing ship. They've been rescued and they're all safe and sound. We haven't personally spoken to the crew so we don't know exactly what happened yet.
"I'm just gutted for them at the moment. They were so close to finishing."
In Matt's blog, written specially for this week's Gazette, he told how the boat had faced severe problems in the past week with low winds resulting in lack of power. Over the weekend they were left on water rations and navigating without the support of technical equipment.
But he remained optimistic at completing their Atlantic Odyssey challenge.
On Sunday he wrote: "With the calm of the Atlantic, our boat Sara G has not only had her toughest week of the expedition, but her toughest week under my watch.
"Yesterday saw us post only 60 nautical miles with a mixed bag of no wind and swells from every direction.
"Despite all of this the crew have battled on to make this small total. It has now made our world record attempt become the most difficult final days we will spend at sea this year.
"Morale is high and we hope for good weather soon, but it seems everything is against us at the moment.
"We hope to have better news soon and would like to thank everyone for all the messages of support we have received, on days like this they mean everything to us.
"We will continue to give it our all till we reach Barbados and hope to see a change of fortune in the coming days."