Row­ers’ bumpy ride

Coast team com­plete epic At­lantic cross­ing

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - AMANDA ROBBEMOND

ONE mil­lion oar strokes and 5015km later, Sam Weir and Dy­lan Jones fi­nally crossed the fin­ish line – in a row boat.

The ad­ven­tur­ous Gold Coast duo, rac­ing un­der the ban­ner Ocean No­mads, ar­rived at An­tigua in the Caribbean late last week to take out the pure pairs class of the 2017 Talisker Whisky At­lantic Chal­lenge, which be­gan in De­cem­ber in the Ca­nary Is­lands off Africa.

They were at sea for 52 days, four hours and 18 min­utes, and came 16th over­all, be­com­ing the youngest Aus­tralians to cross the At­lantic Ocean in a row boat.

While the pair were aim­ing to beat the world record of 42 days, bad weather and huge swells ham­pered their ef­forts.

“We had a big storm cap­size the boat,” Mr Weir said.

“So we threw out the drogue, a small­parachute that we would keep lined up with the prom­i­nent swell, it was prob­a­bly 20ft plus, (and then) we’d bunker down in the hatch.

“It was pretty rough.” Mr Weir said the world record had been set in per­fect con­di­tions and they had in­stead faced about 46 days of rough con­di­tions.

Along the 2600 nau­ti­cal mile course, the men bat­tled fly­ing fish nightly which would ‘hit’ them in the face, as well as sleep de­pri­va­tion and boat re­pairs on the fly.

But he said there were some amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ences which made the gru­elling trek worth it.

“We saw heaps of fish and big schools of dol­phins,” he said. “Once, at the bot­tom of a wave, there was a mas­sive whale glid­ing at the top.

“It was un­real, but wouldn’t do it again.”

Mr Weir said he and Dy­lan would gen­er­ally swap row­ing shifts ev­ery 90 min­utes. While one would row, the other would see to re­pairs, nav­i­ga­tion and food, which they would eat af­ter ev­ery shift in or­der to keep up their calo­rie in­take. I


Gold Coast­ers Dy­lan Jones and Sam Weir com­pleted the Talisker Whisky At­lantic Chal­lenge in their row boat in 52 days.

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