British adventurer Charlie “Pi” Pitcher arrived in Barbados Friday after rowing solo across a 2,900 mile span of the Atlantic Ocean. Pi made the trip in 35 days, 33 minutes, smashing the previous record by 5 ½ days and his own personal best by 17 days. For his success, Pi credits The Challenge, his custom-built carbon fibre rowboat, fair weather and following seas, and Richard Parker, the 500-pound Bengal Tiger who made the trip with him.
“Honestly, it all came down to Richard Parker,” Pi says, "Every day is the same out there. You’re just rowing, rowing, rowing. Last time I rowed ten days backwards, just to change things up. Richard Parker kept me focused. Very focused, as The Challenge only carried enough steak for 35 days.”
Pi said the seas gave him enough to worry about. The Challenge rolled twice, suffered four knockdowns and one cabin slap, where a wave entered the cabin through an open hatch. Pi himself suffered two tiger slaps, where a hungry Richard Parker smacked him upside the head demanding food.
Otherwise, the tiger spent the voyage eating and sleeping and showed no signs of discontent. “Something tells me this was not Richard Parker's first ocean crossing," Pi says, “He was unaffected by sea sickness or the confined living quarters. He was only hungry. Always very hungry.”
By the start of day 36, Pi was close to Barbados but completely out of tiger food. "Those last few hours were a bit tricky," Pi says. "Fortunately our other travel companions, the zebra, the hyena, and the orangutan, kept Richard Parker entertained until I could reach shore.”