In the margins of the last couple of weeks I have been following on the Internet the progress of boats in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. The reason – given that I know as much about boats and rowing as I do about astrophysics or brain surgery? The son of friends was rowing the Atlantic alone in order to raise £100,000 for two charities.

Yesterday he arrived in Barbados. He came second by 26 minutes to a two-man crew. The others still haven’t landed 24 hours later. Andrew Brown broke a new World Record for fastest time across the Atlantic for a solo rower.

This is amazing. It makes me (at least) feel feeble. How determined do you have to be to decide to row the Atlantic alone, prepare for it and then actually do it?

Andrew’s feat says something powerful about the strength of the human will as well as the human body.

But, I’d still like to know what went through his mind when, rowing three hours on and three hours off (for sleep), he felt alone on the ocean, under a sea of stars, wondering what life is all about.

Or, maybe he didn’t. Maybe he just concentrated hard on the task to hand. Whatever, this is a fantastic achievement and I look forward to hearing the story behind the story.