Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 26 April 2019

Dubai rowers set off on four week Transatlantic challenge

The Row4Ocean team are targeting four world records to highlight the threat of ocean plastics

Months of gruelling preparation finally came to fruition on Friday as the four-man Transatlantic rowing team from Dubai set off from Senegal in their pursuit of four world records.

Led by Dutchman Patrick Bol, the DP World sponsored team launched their 4,250 kilometre challenge in the hope of drawing attention to the threat posed by plastic to the planet’s oceans.

Mr Bol has been joined in his ambitious adventure by three Britons, Andrew Ruinoff, Matt Wilds and Lewis Knollman.

They hope to become the fastest team to cross the Atlantic when they arrive in South America less than four weeks after setting off from West Africa.

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Other records in their sights are the most consecutive number of days where more than 100 nautical miles are rowed, the first team to row a multi-hull boat from Senegal to a northern port on South America and the first to cross the Atlantic in under 27 days.

At the launch, Mr Bol and his team-mates were happy to get their challenge underway in the vessel Year of Zayed following more than 12 months of hard work.

“This is the result of over one year of preparation, so we are as ready as we can be,” he said. “The conditions at the start were almost perfect.

“We have designed and built a very revolutionary eco-friendly boat. We want to go fast and break records but we want to do something even better than that for future generations.

“We want to give attention to the huge problem of plastic in our ocean. It is something we can all do something about.”

Patrick Bol (left) and Trevor Cantwell (drone controller) practising with their drone. Pawan Singh / The National 
Patrick Bol and Trevor Cantwell practising using a drone ahead of the challenge. Pawan Singh / The National

Aside from the hours spent in the gym and out on the water to prepare for 14 hours per day of continuous rowing, the logistics of pulling together sponsorship for the custom build trimaran boat, to sustain and support four men for a month has not been easy.

At a cost of $500,000 (Dh1.8 million), and built from the same high tech materials used in Formula One, it has been an expensive process – with the launch from Senegal signifying an end to the planning stage of the epic challenge.

The Row4Ocean team is hoping to make a tangible difference to ocean pollution by supporting a recycling scheme in Karachi and a clean-up operation of the Indus River, one of the most polluted rivers in the world.

Updates on their progress can be followed at https://www.facebook.com/row4ocean.

Updated: December 16, 2018 07:50 AM

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