Rowing the Atlantic
|Atlantic challenge - the crew aboard Vivaldi Atlantic 4|
The Vivaldi Atlantic expedition was a British Atlantic record crossing
attempt that took place in the summer of 2005.
The crew were all members
of the 2002 Skandia Atlantic crossing attempt that ended after 21 days when their
rudder was ripped off in a storm.
Their aim was to break the existing Atlantic
Rowing Records and to create a new one for rowing directly to mainland UK.
Steve Dawson from Boston, Lincolnshire
Nigel Morris from Ingleby Barwick,
George Rock from Ingleby Barwick, Teesside
Rob Munslow from
They set off from St. John's, Newfoundland,
Canada on 01 June 2005 and intended to finish in Falmouth, Cornwall, England less
than 55 days later.
Their route covered 2100 miles of Atlantic.
It is dangerous. Five men have died trying to row from Canada to
the UK and the record of 55 days was set more than 100 years ago.
record was to a line at sea drawn from the Bishops Rock lighthouse. More than
100 miles west of the British mainland.
No one has rowed land to land. This
crew wanted to be the first, but their main reason was the sense of achievement.
The routine was set from the start - two men, two
hours on, two hours off, propelling 1500kg of boat more than 2000 miles.
Length: 29 feet
Weight: 320 kg
Designed and built
by Woodvale Events.
The only time off is time to rest.
There are two sleeping bags - for four
absolutely no privacy.
five the crew had cleared the Grand Banks; a treacherous stretch of water where
"The Titanic" sank.
It was on day five
that their luck almost ran out.
They rowed into a massive storm. The boat
was tossed about like a cork - but she held together and upright.
back to the daily grind of putting on the miles and suffering the injuries.
daily targets helped them through.
Sometimes as good as 80 miles a day.
But on this day they were in for the worst storm of the crossing.
"We were looking at waves towering above us. They were huge. They were
not bungalows they were tower blocks.
"There were times when we did
not think we would be coming home. We did not think we would make it."
the second big storm conditions improved dramatically. Again they survived.
Day 34, around 300 miles to go. Disaster almost struck. An oar
broke. There was one spare left. If it happened again they would be down to one
By Day 37 they were expecting the wind and the currents to push
them towards England. Nine times out of 10 that is what would have happened. But
not on Day 37.
George: "There has no change for five
days - we are getting nearer to the French coast
the current is pushing
Their dilemma - strike north to Falmouth for
a land-to-land crossing and risk being pushed backwards into the Bay of Biscay.
go all out east for the record; cross the line drawn from Bishops Rock lighthouse;
and get a tow the remaining 100 miles or so to the Scilly Isles.
Crew members expressed differing views.
"I got on the boat not to finish at the Scillies - it is Falmouth for me.
The Isles of Scilly never interested me."
Steve countered, "If
we end up being swept into the bay and asking for help it's no good."
summed it up: "It is the world record; we should not be bloody beating ourselves
up about it.
"The most important thing is that we end this as friends."
Naturally Best crossed the finish line near Bishop Rock lighthouse, off the Isles
of Scilly on 11 July, taking 39 days, 22hrs, 10mins 30secs and smashing the previous
voted to go for the record and crossed the official finishing line on Sunday 10
They had smashed the record by 16 Days. And were the first four-man
crew to complete the west to east crossing of the North Atlantic.
to Falmouth was now the goal, but the wind and the sea were against them.
tow to the Scilly Isles was quickly arranged, and the Scillies were waiting for
Nigel: "It was a fantastic reception"
|The four rowers celebrate on their arrival in Falmouth|
The next day the guys finally got to their
original destination - Falmouth and their families.
They were not stars;
they were ordinary guys who raised the money themselves for their crossing. That
was the strength of their achievement.
Nigel: "We are
not from privileged backgrounds. We are just normal lads. It really shows what
everyday blokes can achieve."
Rob: "It was a privilege. On a small
boat. A thousand miles from anywhere, with three good friends."
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