FOUR school friends from Newport have spoken of their experience sailing 3,000 mile across the Atlantic Ocean, and into the record books.

Team Oarstruck crossed the finish line of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in Antigua on Wednesday, as we reported, having tackled the “world’s toughest row” for Diabetes UK.

Amateur rowers John Morgan, Hugo Thompson, Monty Williams and Joel Wood, all aged 26, from Caerleon, had set off from the Canary Islands on December 14.

Their epic journey took them a total of 55 days, two hours and 23 minutes, during which they battled through seasickness and exhaustion.

The former Caerleon Comprehensive School pupils also had to overcome treacherous weather conditions, which led to four of the original 27 teams requiring rescue assistance.

And by completing the row, the crew have made history with Mr Thompson becoming the first person with Type 1 diabetes to row across the Atlantic unaided.

“I want this achievement to be a message to anyone with diabetes that it’s not a barrier to doing the things you want to do in life,” said Mr Thompson, who was diagnosed with the condition in 2015.

Team Oarstruck rowed into a harbour packed with supportive friends and family, a welcome sight for Mr Williams.

He said: “Crossing the finish line was unlike anything I’ve experienced before. It was humbling and overwhelming to see so many supporters welcoming us in.

“The hardest part was the two-hour shift patterns, and only being able to sleep for about an hour and a half at a time. The tiredness caused hallucinations through the night shifts!”

Fellow crew member Mr Wood admitted that he would have to think twice about taking on the row again, but the “amazing experience” had its moments.

“The first two weeks were hell," he added. "Really bad seasickness, massive waves and strong winds to contend with most days.

“But the highlights made it worth it, like seeing whales, dolphins and flying fish.”

And for the crew’s fourth member, Mr Morgan, it was the simple pleasures that he was looking forward to once reaching dry land.

He said: “It feels so great to have finally had a shower!”

The crew remain in Antigua while they recuperate and are expected to return to Wales later this month.

Their story has also grabbed the attention of Olympic Sir Steve Redgrave, who has Type 2 diabetes. He tweeted: “Congratulations to Team Oarstruck on a magnificent achievement for Diabetes UK. I could not agree more with your message – diabetes does not need to hold you back. Nothing is out of reach!”

Dai Williams, national director of Diabetes UK Cymru, said: “Words cannot express how incredibly proud we are of Team Oarstruck. They have achieved something truly amazing and Hugo has put himself in the record books, as the first person with Type 1 diabetes to row the Atlantic.

“They are a fantastic example of teamwork, dedication and supporting each other, and we hope their story shows others with Type 1 diabetes that having the condition does not have to hold you back.

“If you can row the Atlantic with Type 1 diabetes, you can do absolutely anything.”

To support their fundraising campaign, click here.