Ed Smith, the former Devizes School pupil who has just rowed the Atlantic with his crew of three, has told how on one scary night a freak wave almost capsized them into seas 12,000ft deep.

Ed, who made the voyage with engineer pal Adam Green from Great Bedwyn and their Thatcham mates Rob Murray and Jack Biss, ended the incredible journey in Antigua on January 18.

They took 37 days, 8 hours and 58 minutes to cross the 3,000 miles in their 28ft boat, rowing an estimated one and a half million strokes each, as they risked their lives in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in a bid to raise money for Victoria’s Promise, a little-known charity which helped Ed’s wife Anna before she died of cancer at the age of just 38.

Ed told that although there were “magical moments” on the voyage, there were frightening times too.

He said: “The worst of times was at 2am one night, it was pitch black and five-metre waves were pushing us in the right direction when, out of nowhere, a rogue wave engulfed Adam and I from our starboard.

"It literally landed on our heads filling the deck with water. We still don’t know how we didn’t capsize. We managed to compose ourselves only for two minutes later the same happened again. Scary.”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: They did it! Rowing 3,000 miles.They did it! Rowing 3,000 miles.

The Atlantic heroes have raised over £35,000 for Victoria's Promise. The team rowed under the banner Anna Victorious, in honour of Ed’s wife who tragically died in 2018 when their now five-year-old daughter Alba was only 18-months-old and whose bravery inspired the four to take the ocean challenge.

Ed added: “There were some magical moments out there. Sunrises with dolphins bow riding. The night skies, but a moment that will live long in my memory is when a rainbow and moon appeared, at the same time, at the stern of the boat.

"Both rainbows and the moon have been a comfort and reminder for Alba and I that Anna is watching, so to have both at the same time was incredible.

“Rowing 12 hours a day for 3,000 miles is relentless, exhausting and boring. There were times I was crawling out of the cabin half asleep to relieve Jack on the oars. There were times when I was falling asleep rowing. T

"he midday heat was energy-sapping. There was no let-off some the conditions. In fact, rowing at night was more comfortable even though you couldn’t see the rogue waves that were about to beat you up!

“There were funny times too, the flying fish were always comical. They had a habit of landing on the boat most nights and sometimes deflecting off an unexpecting rower before landing on deck. And with all these things it usually happens to the person who hates it the most. Adam hates fish.

“He was in the zone when out of the darkness a fish propels itself out of the ocean at lighting speed, they fly quickly and a long way, only to be met by Adam’s face! It lands in the gully and of course Adam refuses to touch it as it flaps in a panic. Adam is in just as much of a panic seeing this fish on deck.

"Once the fish was eventually rescued the only way to get rid of the smell was to clean himself with copious amounts of hand sanitiser. This wasn’t the only time it happened and it never got boring. At least not for Jack, Rob and me!"

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Rowers celebrate finishing their Atlantic ChallengeRowers celebrate finishing their Atlantic Challenge

“People ask what kept me going? It was Anna, and the fact Alba and my family would be in Antigua. I just wanted to get back to Alba and if we were not rowing we were not getting closer to that goal.

“People also ask if there were any sharks. No sharks, but there was a blue marlin which we thought was a shark at first glance. Its dorsal fin was above the surface as it hunted blue tuna hiding under the hull of our boat.

“We took 15 kilos of sweets, including Haribo and Mars bars to keep our energy up, but we didn’t have enough sweets! Any budding ocean rowers out there need Haribo. Lots and lots of Haribo. It was always disappointing to get a snack pack with no Haribo in it.

“The money raised for Victoria’s Promise is fantastic and it’s such a great feeling to have done that, but the pain and suffering we felt out there is nothing to what the young women supported by Victoria’s Promise go through.”

To watch a video of the Anna Victorious team finish the challenge, go to this link: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?ref=search&v=1089648088468675