The Atlantic was first rowed in 1896 by two Norwegians, Frank Samuelson and George Harbo. The pair set off from New York City in June and arrived on the Isles of Scilly in July, having completed the crossing in an incredible 55 days. The duo’s record time was not beaten until 2010,114 years later.
Nowadays, the preferred route for the crossing is from La Gomera (Canary Islands) to Antigua as part of The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Established in 1997, the Challenge was run biennially until, having gathered enough acclaim, it became a yearly event in 2015. The current record for the crossing for this route stands at 29 days, set in the 2016 race.
Ocean rowing is a rather new sport, which gives plenty of opportunity for improvements. With their rowing experience the Dutch Atlantic Four have introduced new techniques to get across quicker, saver and more comfortable.
The biggest worries of nearly all ocean rowers is the pain in the buttocks. Moving constantly, due to rowing and the waves, combines with seawater and transpiration, makes it an ideal spot to have blisters and sores. The Dutch Atlantic Four have developed together with KS Custom Seating and Bert Stevens Orthesebouw special seats which overcame these problems. Giving an optimal support and ventilation the seats gave no problems during their crossing. This patented seating is now available to all ocean rowers. Contact the Dutch Atlantic Four for more information.
COVERS FOR FREEING PORTS / SCUPPERS
The small rowing boat is always moving, certainly with waves coming from all directions, rocking the boat so much that water will come into the gangway through freeing ports. This increases the weight of the boat and making it heavier on one side. This would make the boat lean over to port- or starboard side which made it difficult to row and we lost speed. The Dutch Atlantic Four developed special covers the freeing ports to prevent sea water coming into the gangway but still making it possible to get rid of rain and seawater what came on deck. These covers worked perfectly. You want them as well for your crossing? Contact the Dutch Atlantic Four.
CLEANING THE HULL
During the crossing barnacles will grow on to the hull resulting in slowing the boat down. These needs to be removed with a scraper. Normally one or two of the rowers will swim around the boat removing them. Especially when there is a lot wind and waves are high this is not an easy ask and not without any danger. First putting out the sea anchor or drogues slowing the boat down, it would still be a rocking the waves. This could lead to injuries when lying next to it scraping off the barnacles. So the team developed a new technique for the heavy weather situations where they used an anti-bird netting. By holding it on both sides of the boat and moving it up and down, the barnacles were scraped off. No need to go into the water and it could be done within 15 minutes and no need to put out any sea anchors or drogues. On their crossing wind and waves were not so heavy so they plunged over board to clean the boat and enjoyed the refreshing swim in a pool of 4.000 m deep.