An adventurer who failed to set a new world record for rowing the Atlantic unsupported but raised A£250,000 for charity said he has lain down his oars for good.

Ed Baylis, of Dorset, and Stuart Turnbull, of Broad Hinton, spent 63 days, 12 hours and 46 seconds crossing the Atlantic in their 24-foot plywood boat Memory of Zayed.

The pair of amateur rowers were hoping to break the world record by crossing the Atlantic unsupported in under 40 days, five hours and 31 minutes.

Their bid was thwarted by the elements and a serious lack of food.

Baylis arrived back at Gatwick Airport this morning having lost half his bodyweight.

But 63 days at sea dodging whales and tankers while subsisting on meagre rations and no sleep, and the airline losing his bags, was not enough to wipe the smile off his tanned face.

The 27-year-old from Wimborne, said: "It's a bitter pill to swallow, that we set ourselves up for a fall on this world record.

"But I wouldn't change it for the world. I don't think we would have got as much out of it. Every day was a different challenge, a different experience, a different adventure. You can get so much more out of experiences that go wrong."

It was an epic journey. The pair set off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on December 20 last year and were locked into a storm "which lasted three weeks".

"It was like The Perfect Storm, with 40ft waves. We watched them rise and rise thinking 'they could kill us'.

"It was man against nature: man one, nature nil," said Mr Baylis.

Calm seas reigned for the following three weeks, slowing their pace. The next obstacle was hunger: having taken enough food for 40 days, the pair were forced to reduce their daily intake of 7,000 calories to 900 calories a day.

They each survived on 15 Jaffa Cakes, a small bag of salted peanuts and an energy bar until help arrived in the form of two Dutch rowers on Valentines Day, who gave them provisions.

"We ate and ate and ate and were then as sick as dogs," said Baylis.

A friendly whale also gave them cause for concern. Mr Baylis said: "It gives us a little nudge, but it's like Evander Holyfield giving you a nudge.

"You just have to remember that Jaws is make believe."

They arrived in Antigua at 9.21pm last Wednesday.

The Oxford graduate and former city high flier spent six hours a day for the last two years training. Baylis said: "I'll never row an ocean again. You just can't control the elements. It's a really frustrating thing to do if you're going against the clock.

"But I've just been on the best educational programme available to man and raised money for Cancer Research as well."

Baylis intends to resume working at his business, Perfect Sweet, a sugar substitute. Mr Turnbull, 26, is training to be a medic in London. He is due to fly home shortly.

Baylis thanked their sponsors, Sheikh Hamden, of the United Arab Emirates, and Olympus.