QBE’s James Croome and teammate Oliver Back complete gruelling challenge in under 60 days

QBE is celebrating victory in the 2009/2010 Woodvale Atlantic Rowing Race.

The crew of the boat QBE Insurance Challenge – James Croome and Oliver Back – completed the transatlantic row in first place in the race’s pairs class.

After leaving the Canary Islands on 4th January, they arrived at Antigua in the Caribbean in 59 days, 16 hours and 17 minutes, within their target of a sub-60 day crossing.

When off the water, James Croome is Assistant Specie Underwriter at QBE Marine & Energy Syndicate 1036 and Oliver Back is a chartered accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In addition to fulfilling their personal ambitions, this achievement also enabled the team to raise funds for two charities: East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) and The Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Colin O’Farrell, Managing Director Marine & Energy, QBE European Operations, added: “Finishing in first place in the race’s pairs class is an extraordinary achievement and we are extremely proud of both James and Oliver. James is an integral part of the Marine and Energy team and we have all been following the progress of ‘The QBE Insurance Challenge’ with a mixture of awe and trepidation.”

Mo Kang, Chief Human Resources Officer at QBE European Operations, said: “Having watched the team’s determined training and then their steady progress during the race, it has been very exciting for us all at QBE to see them pull through to complete the race in such a prodigious position. We are very proud to have sponsored this brave endeavour and laudable success in support of two such creditable charities.”

There have only been 112 successful two-person east-to-west Atlantic crossings to date.

The race, which commenced belatedly due to adverse weather conditions on 4th January 2010, consisted of a 2500 nautical mile voyage from La Gomera in the Canary Islands across the Atlantic to Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour in Antigua. Billed as one of the toughest tests of endurance on earth, for the boys the row was the equivalent of running a marathon a day whilst battling with sleep deprivation, hunger and often treacherous weather.