Cape Argus

Solo rower to make waves as he sets off for Rio

- SUKAINA ISHMAIL sukaina.ishmail@inl.co.za

ZIRK Botha will set off today from Cape Town on a 7 000 kilometre solo journey, hoping to finish in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and become one of the few to row across the Atlantic.

Botha was expected to leave on Tuesday, however due to the unfavourab­le weather over the last few days, this was not possible.

He said: “I have to leave when the south-westerly wind isn’t dominant because it will push my boat straight back towards the coastline.

“When leaving from Cape Town, I need to row in a westerly direction to clear the coast and shipping lanes.

“Once I’m out in deep water, the wind direction becomes less of a factor. The predicted conditions for Saturday look good.”

Botha said the challenge was not entirely regarding the heavy winds, but a combinatio­n of the wind speed and direction.

“My boat can safely cope with winds in excess of 30 knots, but I can’t row into a wind stronger than five knots without wasting unnecessar­y energy,” he said. He said big swells and heavy winds are expected during this time of the year, which one would need to ride out, but with a sea anchor deployed to steady the boat.

“Sea life is unpredicta­ble, but I do expect to see dolphins and hopefully whales and other aquatic sea life.

“A lot of people have asked me about the danger of sharks but they pose no threat to me. Generally I am looking forward to the quiet and disconnect from social media and cellphone communicat­ion,” he said.

Botha’s safety on his journey will be monitored by Fleetmon using their satellite trackers.

Botha’s sponsor Juwi SA managing director, Greg Austin, said: “I’m deeply admiring of Zirk taking this on in the name of sustainabi­lity and climate change.

“This challenge to me is highly correlated with the severe challenges we all face as planetary citizens right now.”

 ??  ?? ZIRK Botha will set off today from Cape Town on a 7000 kilometre solo journey.
ZIRK Botha will set off today from Cape Town on a 7000 kilometre solo journey.

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