At midday today (Wednesday 16 August 2006) the lead boat
in the Shepherd Ocean Fours Rowing Race 2006, Boat #2 – James
Robert Hanssen had only 34 nautical miles left to the official
race finish line.
The James Robert Hanssen, along with three other identical
29ft long purposely designed and built ocean rowing boats,
set off from New York Harbour on the 10 June 2006, with the
aim of rowing 3,100nm across the North Atlantic Ocean to Falmouth
in the UK.
After an epic 67 days at sea, the Seattle, US based crew
of Jordan Hanssen, Dylan Le Valley, Brad Vickers and Greg
Spooner have an estimated 15 hours left of rowing before they
triumphantly become the first boat to cross the race finish
line, a line of longitude running North/South at Bishop Rock
Lighthouse (06 26.74W).
After crossing the race finish line, the crew will then continue
to make their way up the English Channel to Falmouth in Cornwall
– a further distance of approximately 70 nautical miles. At
this point, the crew can choose to accept a tow from the race
support RIB, Woodvale Alpha without jeopardising their position
in the race. However, pride and the desire to be the first
ocean rowing crew in history to row from mainland US to mainland
UK unaided is driving the crew forward under there own steam.
This means that the crew are likely to finally touch land
at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth on Friday morning
(Friday 18 August 2006).
For the families of the four courageous crewmen of the James
Robert Hanssen, the past few weeks have been tense and frustrating
as the crew had originally been scheduled to finish a week
earlier. However, unusual strong Northerly/North Westerly
winds off the cost of the South West have slowed the progress
considerably of all three competing rowing boats in the closing
Along the way, the crews have overcome many extreme obstacles
including surviving the full effects of Tropical Depression
Alberto, numerous near misses with containers ships, salt
sores and sleep deprivation. However, they have learnt a lot
about themselves and grown both physically and mentally as
a team. The inaugural Shepherd Ocean Rowing Race 2006 truly
is a totally unique event and will provide these pioneers
with an experience that they will never forget.