'I was fast asleep and the first thing I knew I was catapulted into the side of the cabin. There was a lot of blood'

Former Leinster and Connacht second row Damian Browne has opened up on his experiences rowing solo across the Atlantic Ocean - including the shocking moment where he capsized while asleep.

Browne traversed 4,800KM from the Canary Islands to Antigua, spending 63 days at sea on his own -writes independent.ie

Speaking on The Left Wing podcast, Independent.ie's rugby podcast with Laya Healthcare, Browne told Will Slattery and Luke Fitzgerald everything about the challenge, from the intense training needed to prepare himself to how he braved the elements for nine weeks.

It was ultimately an extremely rewarding experience for Browne, but it wasn't without its obstacles. Two weeks into the row, Browne was given the mother and father of all wake up calls after smashing his face against the side of the boat after it capsized.Thankfully, the boat is designed to flip back over but Browne was still left reeling from the unexpected capsizing.

"It was about seven in the morning on Day 14 and I had two capsizes in the same day," Browne said.

"I was fast asleep and the first thing I knew was when I was catapulted head first into the side of the cabin. I got three small cuts but there was a lot of blood. A lot of disorientation. I just woke up when I hit the cabin. It is pandemonium and you are trying to digest what happened. I just had to stop the blood and then went out on the deck. Thankfully all my gear was in place.

"It was just about clearing the water off the deck and getting everything back in place. The life raft was almost in the water. It was a pretty crazy morning."

Many people were taken aback when Browne posted a video of himself after the incident on social media, with the former lock explaining that he caused some family members further distress after they initially worried about him when he set out on his journey.

"I think my mother was worried about it from the minute I told her I was doing it to the minute I stepped on land in Antigua," Browne laughed.

"I probably wasn't doing anyone any favours by sending videos home of my head cut. Everyone was pretty worried. As I said in the video, you probably couldn't have had a better person to be in that situation. I was just trying to reassure people. I felt the harder the journey became, the more I relished it. When everything is against you, that is when you see what you're made of."

Amazingly, the shock of capsizing wasn't even Browne's worst day at sea. The first 24 hours saw a litany of things go against the former second row after he tried to start the row all guns blazing.

"Day One was an absolute nightmare," he said.

"It was the hardest day of the whole lot. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. I made a mistake in my preparation because I had too much time from the end of my training to when I started the race. I had almost de-trained and then I started with a bang and plough through the feel but then everything went wrong.

"My body started to shut down. Every major muscle group in my lower body started to severely cramp like I've never experienced. Then all the callouses on my hands tore off, my heels blistered and I got seasickness so I was constantly vomiting.

"When all that went on I tried to rest up for an hour and my boat got blow back a mile towards the island."

Browne recovered from his disastrous first day to finish the row in Antigua 63 days later, and you can listen to his full story on this week's Left Wing podcast.

Subscribe to The Left Wing, Independent.ie's Rugby podcast in association with Laya Healthcare, with Luke Fitzgerald and Will Slattery for the best discussion and analysis each week. From in depth interviews with some of Irish rugby's biggest stars to unmatched insights into the provinces and the national team, The Left Wing has all your rugby needs covered.

Read more news of Dublin on our site.

independent.ie
fastasleep
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in november
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
Inner City Helping Homeless are asking for the public's help in filling a Luas with gifts this Christmas. Fill A Luas asks the public to donate a shoebox of gifts to the homeless at Connolly Luas Stop on Thursday, December 6. This is the fourth year of the charity event. This year, Fill A Luas will be a week-long event to give people more time to donate a shoebox over the holidays with the aim of collecting more than the record of 20,000 shoeboxes. The pub...
Incidents
The sightings of UFOs over the coast by three sets of airline pilots has led to Ireland being seen as a hotbed of alien activity. It has emerged the crews who reported an unidentified object streaking through the skies over Co Kerry are not alone. Dublin Live has been inundated with reports of similar sightings around the country in recent weeks. The Irish Aviation Authority has begun an investigation into the appearance of the mysterious objects which wer...
Society
Ombudsman Peter Tyndall has expressed his disappointment that the Health Service Executive has not fully implemented the recommendations made in his 2015 investigation into the healthcare system. The Ombudsman's 2015 report, Learning to Get Better, found that many people were afraid to complain about the treatment they receive in hospitals and that many hospitals were not learning important lessons from complaints they receive.  The HSE and Department of H...
Society
A new programme aimed at helping immigrant teachers find work in Irish schools opens to applicants today. The course, at Dublin’s Marino Institute of Education, aims to provide immigrants who are qualified teachers, but not working as such, with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to enable them to find employment here. Recent research has found that while Ireland’s school student population is now highly diverse, teachers here continue to be overwhelmin...
Society
EU and UK negotiators have agreed a text that deals with the Irish border, RTÉ News understands. The text was agreed at around 9pm last night and then transmitted to Downing Street. While two well-placed sources have confirmed that the text was "as stable as it can be", they say it would not be correct to say that the negotiations have "concluded". According to both sources, there will be one backstop to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. The ba...
Politics
The Cabinet will meet this morning to consider developments around the draft text of a Brexit withdrawal agreement. Yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar put his colleagues on standby for this morning's meeting, which is due to be held at 9.30am. Mr Varadkar and the Tánaiste will update their Government colleagues on what has happened over the last 24 hours. It follows a meeting last night between Mr Varadkar, Tánaiste Simon Coveney, Minister for Finance Pasch...
Society
A number of events have taken place around the country and in Northern Ireland to mark the centenary of the ending of World War I. Locations where ceremonies have taken place include Belfast, Enniskillen, Cork, Limerick, Sligo, Kilkenny, Westmeath, Galway and Tipperary. In Cork city, Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Mick Finn laid a wreath at the Cenotaph on the Grand Parade. He was joined by relatives of those who died in WWI and members of the Cork branch of the...
Society
The two men who were arrested in Athy, Co Kildare yesterday in the investigation into the murder of David Boland have been released without charge today. A file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions as the investigation continues, said a garda spokesperson. David Boland, 34, was stabbed multiple times during an incident on Duke Street in Athy, in the early hours of Thursday 1 November. A total of four people have been arrested to date as...
Society
Dublin City Council is set to spend €1.6 million on the removal of discarded chewing gum in public areas. The local authority is seeking tenders for a contract to remove gum from footpaths and pedestrianised zones throughout litter blackspots in its administrative area over the next three years. It expects to spend €1.6 million plus VAT on these services, according to tender documents. The huge cost of removing chewing gum from public areas comes despite r...