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Row, row, row your boat, all the way across the Atlantic Ocean

Four man rowing team coming into English Harbour as the winners last year.
Four man rowing team coming into English Harbour as the winners last year.
Photo by Maggie Dobbins

Sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in the winter can be fraught with dangers. Rowing across the Atlantic Ocean in a small row boat is well, sort of insane. And very inspiring!

The 2009 Woodvale Atlantic Rowing Race is in its 49th day.  The race begins in La Gomera in the Canary Islands and they do not quit rowing until they reach English Harbour on the island of Antigua in the West Indies.  About 2,548 nautical miles. In the winter.

They race either solo, or in teams of pairs or fours. They come from all around the world, from different backgrounds and race for different reasons.  Men and women have taken up this challenge.

It takes anywhere from 50 to 90 days to complete the race. After 90 days they pick up the remaining teams. Today is day 49. The leading boat is JJ, a solo rower.  Charlie Pitcher is British, aged 47.  He has quite a lead at the moment and if all goes well, should land in Antigua in 2 to 3 days.

He has been involved in sailing in America's Cup and the Olympics. He is racing for a friend that died young from kidney failure.

It is hard to imagine the deprivation and hardship of rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. In any conditions. But this has been a particularly brutal winter. Rough seas, extreme winds and very cold. The row boats are specially made for ocean crossings but they are still small rowboats.

As the world is captivated by the Winter Olympics on TV, these amazing men and women are quietly facing enormous challenges. Sleep deprivation for months on end. Salt sores, muscle cramps and limited food options.  And not for glory.  And certainly not for money. Perhaps because it is there?

Please look at their websites and blogs and support them any way you can. Give them encouragement and spread the word of their feat.

The Atlantic Rowing Race website has great information on every rowing team and links to their websites.

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  • Pauline Dolinski 5 years ago

    Perhaps because they are a bit nuts? I'm not one for least not on purpose.

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