16 rowers on ‘Big Blue’ – the world’s first ocean rowing Catamaran – set off for World Record
Australian ocean rower and expedition manager Margaret Bowling (31) has saved the day for the crew of a world record attempt – to row the Atlantic Ocean unsupported in a record time of 33 days.
The crew of 16 international rowers suddenly became 15 when one of them, (Anne Maurissen, 48, Belgium) sadly broke her hand just days before the world record attempt. Margaret Bowling who is the first and only Australian woman ever to row an ocean accepted the skippers’ plea for help, promptly joining the crew in Morocco for the start line in time for the departure date of Tuesday 11th January 2011 (depart at 0600 Moroccan time).
Margaret Bowling (31, from Hobart, Tasmania) says:-
“Having failed to gain an official record [due to being assisted during the row] as first Australian woman to row an ocean, in the Atlantic Ocean Rowing Race 2007/2008 when we were assisted, I figured it’s high time I gave it another go! The skipper, Angela Madsen, was amongst my opponents in the last race [Atlantic Ocean 2007/8]. She has since become a good friend and I couldn’t think of anyone better to be on a boat with”.
Due to her wealth of ocean rowing experience, and the only other team member alongside the skipper to have previously rowed an ocean, Margaret has been appointed ‘Watch Commander’. Margaret shall be overseeing the crew on the opposite watch to the skipper – this knowledge and experience gives the Big Blue crew more chance of succeeding at their World Record attempt.
The ‘Big Blue’ is the first ocean rowing catamaran in the world and is reminiscent of a Viking ship (but of course, without the sail). It has four rowers in each hull with 8 people rowing at any one time – for this reason it is crucial to have an even number of rowers. The crew of 16 men and women are aiming to set a new world record to row 2750 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean from Morocco to Barbados in just 33 days or less.
Rowing the Atlantic Ocean East to West (Morocco to Barbados) is the most popular rowing route by far so the speed record on that route is the Holy Grail for ocean rowers. The Big Blue team hope to break it. There are 3 other boats also trying to break the record this year – World Ocean Rowing, Team Triton and Woodvale Works.
To this date, Margaret is still the only Australian woman in the world to row an ocean and this time she is determined to obtain an official record for this title. Unfortunately for Margaret on her Atlantic 2007/8 crossing (in a pairs boat called ‘Atlantic Jack’ with team member Catherine Allaway) they had major equipment failure, including the rudder and water maker, which required them to obtain assistance leading to disqualification.
Despite having no time to train physically for this last minute row or even meet the other crew members prior to the row, Margaret is confident she is up to the challenge, saying;
“A trip like this is 70% mental and there isn’t a huge amount you can do to prepare your body for rowing 12 hours a day. There is also a lot to be said for muscle memory. I have been rowing since I was 12 and have callouses on my hands that will never go away and have never had any aches and pains when I return to training after a break. In a perfect world I would have like to be in better shape but I know that I will be okay.”
The 39ft rowing boat (‘Big Blue’) is a brand new design by ROC Expeditions of USA (http://www.rocexpedition.com/) and is a completely unproven concept. The boat is like a Viking ship and is one of the first multi-hull ocean rowing boats. Classic ocean rowing boats are cramped and have little room however Big Blue has masses of storage space, cabin bunk beds and even a proper toilet on board.
Notes to Editor:
For further information/photo’s, or to arrange to speak with Margaret Bowling directly aboard the boat, please contact Amy Green email@example.com or call Amy on: +61 28006 2474.
Facts & Stats:
- The row starts in Morocco on Tuesday 11th January 2011 (Agadir, Morocco to Barbados).
- The distance to be rowed is 2,750 nautical miles (3,165 miles) / (5,094 kilometres)
- The boat is the world’s first ocean rowing catamaran (39ft).
- 4 X 230 watt solar panels, 2 X 400 watt wind generators (charging 4 X 150 amp/hr batteries), 2 X E-80 Katadyn water makers, 2 X 8 person life rafts.
- 16 crew (5 women and 11 men):- Skipper, Engineer, Watch commander, 13 rowers (8 rowing positions, 4 in each hull).
- International crew: 1 Australian, 5 American’s, 7 Canadian’s, 1 Austrian, 1 Republic of Georgia and 1 Briton.
- Crew details:
Skipper – Angela Madsen – 50 – Long Island, USA.
Watch Commander – Margaret Bowling – 31 – Australia.
Engineer & ROC CEO – David Davlianidze – 36 – Republic of Georgia.
Ernst Fiby – 34, Austria.
Ryan Worth – 23, Tennesee, USA.
Steve Roedde – 55, Toronto Island, Canada.
Nigel Roedde – 21, St Joseph Island, Canada.
Dylan White – 22, Canada
Zach Scher – 20, Toronto Island, Canada.
Tom Butscher – 67, Toronto Island, Canada.
Charles Wilkins – 55, Ontario, Canada.
Sylvain Croteau – 46, Quebec Canada
Liam Flynn – 24, UK
Liz Koenig – 25, NY, USA.
Aleksa Klimas-Mikalauskas – 27, Long Island NY, USA.
Louise Graff – 43, Kentucky, USA.