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Fears for Essex rower

PUBLISHED: 05:06 28 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:13 24 February 2010

A LONE epileptic rower from East Anglia aiming to cross the Pacific has travelled 2,000 miles – but managed only 400 of them in the right direction.

Last night, fears were growing for the safety of Andrew Halsey who is on his second attempt to row the ocean single-handed.

A LONE epileptic rower from East Anglia aiming to cross the Pacific has travelled 2,000 miles – but managed only 400 of them in the right direction.

Last night, fears were growing for the safety of Andrew Halsey who is on his second attempt to row the ocean single-handed.

The 45-year-old from Clacton, who has been at sea for more than eight weeks, has told friends he will not return without succeeding in his bid to become the first solo disabled rower to cross the Pacific non-stop.

He set off 63 days ago from Callao, Peru, and has travelled 2,000 miles in his boat, the Brittany Rose, but only 400 have been in the direction of his destination on the east coast of Australia.

Kenneth Crutchlow, executive director of the Ocean Rowing Society, said Andrew's failure to make progress was "heartbreaking".

He said Halsey, a former bricklayer, had only 200 days' food left, which would not be enough to last the trip to Australia.

He said: "The only asset he has in his life is his boat and life is not so great for him on land. He has epileptic seizures and he cannot get a job because of his condition.

"He lives in a council flat and life is a struggle. If he can get to Australia, his life would change dramatically."

Andrew's sister Amanda, 35, who runs the Castle Inn pub in Colchester, said her brother had been in good spirits when she spoke to him on Friday.

"He knows what is he doing and he is very determined. He will succeed," she said.

Steve Ashby, general manager of Le Shark, the clothing company which has provided sponsorship for the attempt, said he last heard from Halsey by satellite phone on Sunday night.

He was off the coast of Panama, an area fraught with danger from shipping, where he has been stuck for the last four days because of adverse sea currents and winds.

He said: "He was in good spirits but he is frustrated because he has been stuck in this trough."

The adventurer was the first disabled person to row the Atlantic in 1997, suffering two epileptic seizures during the voyage. On his current trip, he has suffered four seizures.

In his personal log, dated January 15, he speaks about enduring a few days of "absolute hell" in high seas.

"I've been literally thrown around like a rag doll but I'm still in good spirits," he said.

"I know I will reach the other side some time - may just be a few weeks later than expected!" he wrote in his log eight days ago.

His first attempt to row the Pacific in 2000 ended after more than 6,000 miles and 267 days at sea.

He suffered several hurricanes and two months without food, surviving on a few fish and the occasional passing sea bird before being rescued off Honolulu, Hawaii.

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