History of Ocean Rowing

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.

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.

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