Although the first crossing of an ocean in a rowboat was achieved more than a century ago, the sport of ocean rowing is relatively new. The advent of communication technology has made the sport safer and more palatable to a greater audience. Crossings are generally split between historic rows and modern day rows. Modern day rows are those that were started after 1982.
If I am successful, I will become the third Canadian, and the oldest, to row solo the Atlantic East to West using the Trade Winds route.
An ocean rowing boat is like a little submarine. It is self-righting and has two watertight cabins. It is big enough to carry all the safety and surviving equipment to be fully autonomous for up to six months. It carries a watermaker, solar panels and batteries and state of the art communications equipment. The living quarters are not luxurious but sufficient for a nightís retreat.
My new boat is now completed and was built by Jamie Fabrizio at Global Boat Works. Arguably, Jamie has built some of the best ocean rowing boats available. The build process took six months. I picked up the boat on July 13th 2013. Jamie has built a beautiful boat, a piece of art. The attention to details is amazing. Click www.globalboatworks.com for more information on Jamie and Global Boat Works. The finished boat looks like this:
Ten years ago I read a book written by Hannes Lindemann, Alone At Sea. He crossed the ocean twice in the 1950ís. The first time in a dugout canoe, the second time in a kayak. Ever since, Iíve been fascinated by the fact that such a feat was humanly achievable. Fast forward to 2010, I read the story of Katie Spotz after she rowed the Atlantic in a specially built boat. This made it palatable to me. I spoke to as many people I could meet. Read as many books I could find. In 2011 I went to La Gomera to see the start of the Atlantic Rowing Race. At some point, I thought I would do the race but now I have decided to row the Atlantic as an independent. When I was younger, I dreamt of doing like the astronauts, walk on the moon. Crossing the Atlantic is my walking on the moon.
For the last two years, I've tried to stay in good shape, doing almost daily cardiovascular and strength training.
Through the Spring, Summer and Fall, I will intensify my on-water training, building up to several hours daily in a rowing boat.
I am no stranger to endurance sport. I completed the Montreal Marathon, the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon and the canoe-kayak race Yukon River Quest. I started to row specifically to do an ocean crossing. Just like I learned to swim to do the Ironman and learned to paddle a kayak to do the Yukon River Quest.