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The crossing

By Will North | January 1st, 2013 | Department: Atlantic Row 2013 | Categories: Crossing

The Atlantic Row team will be rowing 3,000 miles nonstop from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to English Harbour in Antigua.


To put this in to perspective, it is the equivalent to going from London to St Petersburg (Russia) and back again! The boat will be constantly on the move with Will and Dan taking it in turns to row two hours on, two hours off for 24 hours a day in a constant cycle. When they are not rowing they will sleep, eat, drink and prepare kit ready for the next session.

The scheduled start date is the 2nd of December 2013 with the crossing taking anywhere between 40 – 90 days. Weather conditions will play a large part as to whether they manage the crossing in a quick time.

Prior to the race the four race qualifications must be passed:

  • RYA Ocean Yacht Master
  • RYA Sea Survival
  • RYA Marine Radio Short Range Certificate
  • First Aid at Sea

The history 

The first people to row across the Atlantic were Frank Samuelson and George Harbo, in 1896. After leaving Manhattan, New York, they arrived in Le Havre, France, via the Scilly Isles, 55 days later. They relied on manual skills for navigation and had no real shelter in the boat. Unbelievable!

The first solo crossing was completed by John Fairfax in 1969, taking 180 days. The second crossing was completed only 8 days later by Tom McClean, despite having left nearly four months later than Fairfax.

Since those expeditions, nearly 300 crossings have been attempted, a great number of which have been unsuccessful. Nearly 50% of all solo-ocean rows have not been completed. Although in most of these the rowers were rescued, it must not be forgotten that the cost of an unsuccessful row may sometimes be the rower’s life. There have been seven recorded deaths of rowers at sea.

In light of this, modern boats today are designed to self right in the event of capsize and all the latest safety equipment must be on every boat for you to pass Atlantic Campaigns strict safety regulations. A support vessel throughout the race will be on hand to help with any technical problems the boats may encounter. So rest easy all North’s and Howie’s, your boys will be fine!


Tags: Atlantic Row, Atlantic Challenge, Talisker Whisky, La Gomera, The Crossing, Antigua