IT took 53 days, nine hours and 30 long minutes to complete, during which they have endured some of the most dangerous waters in the world.

But two friends are now enjoying being back on dry land after finally completing their epic challenge to row the Atlantic for charity. Will North, from Winchester, and Dan Howie arrived at English Harbour in Antigua after rowing 3,000 nautical miles to raise £200,000 for charity.

So far the pair, who met at university, have raised over £80,000 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, Cancer Research UK, and St Anna’s, a school and home for orphaned and abandoned children.

It is part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge which they completed at 3.30am yesterday, British time. Will, 28, a head-hunter, and Dan, 29, a chartered surveyor from Yorkshire, completed the epic adventure in 53 days nine hours and 30 minutes.

Will said: “I’m a little tired and feeling quite surreal about seeing dry land and every joint is aching, but I feel amazing!

“We didn’t really have a target because every year the race is dependent on the conditions, but we wanted to come in the top of the pairs and that’s what we’ve done.”

Having left the Canaries on December 4, Will and Dan endured some of the worst North Atlantic weather systems in over 100 years. They’ve capsized twice, rowed 40ft waves and been hit in the face by flying fish.

Life on board has been an endless challenge with injuries, a hot cabin, no autohelm and the need to hand-pump water every day. Will added: “It’s wasn’t nice, but it was going to be hard.

“Every time I stand up I’m leaning; I feel like I’m drunk! Somebody gave me a beer last night and I was all over the place.

“We came in just after sunset and then from nowhere there was a wall of people stood screaming our names.

“Everyone on a yacht nearby was shouting to us as well; they were just so excited.

“It was what we’ve thought about every day since starting. It’s so good to be here with everyone now and to finish here, it’s the perfect destination.”

Will’s dad Simon, of Pearson Road, Shawford, said: “We are absolutely elated. The reception they received was phenomenal.

“They lit a flare when they came in and all the other crews who have already finished were there rooting for them because they’ve all bonded with each other so well.

“It has been out of this world. The interest from all the people in Antigua has been amazing; they cannot believe somebody can row the Atlantic.

“They’ve done the most marvellous thing. Will’s had not one but two showers this morning, though he’s still sporting the beard, and I’m so proud of what they’ve achieved. He’s my boy.”