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O.R.C.A. Transatlantic World Speed Record Rowing Expedition

ilumi is sponsoring the O.R.C.A. (Ocean Rowing Club of the Atlantic) Transatlantic World Speed Record Rowing Expedition, providing food for the crew on board. Find out more about their record attempt here...

O.R.C.A. (Ocean Rowing Club of the Atlantic) - Transatlantic World Speed Record Rowing Expedition

A crew of 10 men will attempt to break the world speed record for crossing the Atlantic from East to West in a multi-hull Ocean Rowboat.

The crew will depart from Grand Canaria on 14th December 2016 and will be aiming to achieve the “four minute mile” of ocean rowing, crossing, arriving in the Caribbean island of Barbados in 30 days, or less, breaking the current world record of 32 days

They will be skippered by Roy Finlay, a world record holder himself and the only designer, builder and Skipper of multi-hull Ocean Rowboats.  He has selected his crew from the U.K Greece and South Africa , comprising:

Roy Finlay                Scotland

Ted Jackson              England

Oscar Jackson           England

Myles Jackson          England

Mark Loftus              England

Tony Sheridan           England

George Ardavanis     Greece

Mark Agnew             Scotland

Stuart Kinnaird          Scotland

Simon Harris             South Africa

The boat, ‘ORCA 2’, a new Expedition 40 catamaran, launched in August of this year is designed specifically to take advantage of the Atlantic Trade winds which blow East to West creating breaking swells of up to 30 feet, allowing the team to “surf” at speeds of up to 15 knots (27 Km p/h).

Skipper Roy is highly experienced in boat handling.  Not only must he control the 40 foot catamaran at speed, but he will also have the added challenge of reduced and, at points, zero visibility as the moon moves through its phases.  This is not a job for the inexperienced or “faint of heart”.

The eight-man rowing crew of ORCA 2 will row the boat in 2 hour shifts (or in more correct nautical parlance “watches”) of four rowers while the other four eat and sleep.  This system will be adopted, non-stop, over 24 hours every day for approximately 30 days.

For the expedition, the rower’s only functions will be to eat, sleep, row and repeat.  “The rowers are purely the engines of the boat, with no other function as far as the boat’s concerned.” Says Skipper, Roy.  It is Roy who will be responsible for the general running of the boat, safety, navigation, effective steering, First-aid. The rowers are the driving force that  makes the difference between simply “crossing” the Atlantic and breaking a World Record.

The expedition will be completely independent and self-supporting, particularly after having rowed the first 20 miles (5 hours), at which point the crew will officially be in “no man’s land” where rescue services are not obliged to help in an emergency.  Should the crew get into trouble the only option is to press the button of their Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (E.P.I.R.B) which will send a message to Falmouth Coastguard via satellite, who in turn will inform shipping in the area that assistance is needed. However this is still no guarantee and therefore Skipper, Roy must also be sufficiently experienced and prepared for handling a “bad situation”.

An important requirement of the crew is that they are all above average fitness.  Both the eldest crew member, George Ardavanis who is in his sixties and the youngest, Oscar Jackson, who is just 22, along with Ted, Tony and Simon have all completed the Marathon de Sables – “The World’s Toughest Marathon” over 6 days in the Sahara desert. Indeed, Ted Jackson, Oscar’s father, completed the World Marathon Challenge in 2015, running seven marathons in seven continents, in just seven days.  However Skipper, Roy argues that the big questions as far as all crew are concerned is, ‘are they mentally strong enough to row 12 hours per day for one month and are they able to mentally overcome physical discomfort and ignore the part of their minds that will begin to question the rationale for attempting such a feat?’

“Yes there will be tough days and nights, there will also be good days, watching the flying fish gliding amongst the waves, inquisitive sharks, breaching whales, the apparently lost bird which accompanies us on the boat waiting for land fall, sunsets, sunrise and waking up to breakfast of the flying fish lying on deck from the previous night’s assault on the crew as a result of being attracted to the boats lights. Forget the waves and the sharks for a moment, do you have any idea what it’s like to be half asleep and be hit in the face by a fish in the middle of the night?” 

As well as aiming for a world speed record, George Ardavanis will become the first Greek to row the Atlantic.  Ted Jackson, his son Oscar and brother, Myles Jackson will become the first father, son and uncle team to have rowed any ocean of the world.  However, the Jackson family’s motivation for joining the expedition goes beyond record breaking attempts.

In 2009, Ted’s wife Sophie was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a disabling neurological illness for which there is no known cure.   Sophie has been able to manage her symptoms with the support of Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis – a charity which promotes a positive lifestyle program for people diagnosed with MS. The expedition will also seek to support Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis through fundraising and awareness raising.

For more information PR@orcarow.com or visit www.orcarow.com

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