Four friends 'complete record Atlantic rowing crossing'

Four friends are believed to have set a new world record for rowing the Atlantic, raising more than £250,000 for mental health charities in the process.

The group, dubbed the Four Oarsmen, spent 29 days and 15 hours at sea for the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, dubbed the world's toughest row, during the 3,000-mile crossing from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean

The quartet - George Biggar, Dicky Taylor, Peter Robinson and Stuart Watts - were met by emotional family and friends as they pulled their weary bodies onto dry land in English Harbour at just after 2am GMT on Saturday.

They had set out to raise awareness of mental health - and funds for the Mind charity - after Mr Biggar's mother Anne Fisher died aged 54 on January 24 2011.

After a successful career in law, Ms Fisher became a mental health and addiction counsellor.

She endured a lifelong battle with mental illness before drowning in the sea near the family home in the Lake District a month after Christmas.

The previous record was set last year by Anglo-American quartet Latitude 35, in a time of 35 days.

They battled sea sickness, 40ft waves, hallucinations and chronic fatigue in their 26ft fibreglass vessel.

The four celebrated Christmas aboard the 26ft rowing boat. Credit: The Four Oarsmen/PA

Race organisers said they believed the quartet completed the fastest Atlantic row of all time, as well as in race history, leading a fleet of 25 teams to the finish line.

The four will split the money between Mind and another charity, Spinal Research, in support of Mr Robinson's friend Ben Kende, once a rising star of Hong Kong rugby, who suffered a spinal cord injury while representing the territory at the Asian Junior Championship in August 2010.