Rowers’ bumpy ride
Coast team complete epic Atlantic crossing
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.