When he arrived on the Caribbean island of Antigua early Sunday morning, Oliver Crane celebrated two things: seeing his family and friends for the first time in 44 days and breaking a record and becoming the youngest person to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
The 19-year-old New Jersey resident broke the previous record set in 2010 by Katie Spotz, who was 22 at the time. He left the Canary Islands on Dec. 14, and told ABC News the hardest part was when he took the first stroke off the coast of Africa "knowing I had close to a million more strokes to go and 3,000 miles left. But I got through it, and I'm glad to have." He crossed the ocean on his 23-foot, custom-built boat, using satellite phones to communicate with his friends, family, and navigational team.
He depended on them for everything from weather reports to supportive messages, and while he missed seeing loved ones during the holidays, Crane had a fun rendezvous with a yacht that passed him. "They sang me Christmas carols, circled around, and wished me well on my journey," he said. Crane said he set out on this journey to raise money for ocean conservation and homelessness, and his next steps include going to Princeton University to study political science and taking a break from the water and focusing on climbing mountains instead. "I'm enjoying solid ground," he said.