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History, one stroke at a time

JAN. 11 — The crew of a custom-designed trimaran ocean rowing vessel on Dec. 24 and 25 set the fastest speed record of any ocean rowboat, traveling 116 miles in 24 hours, according to a recent press release.

Skipper Roy Finlay and his crew set off in ORCA, their 30-foot multihull ocean rowing boat Dec. 15 from the Canary Islands, racing against the time set by La Mondiale, a French-built 43-foot monohull that has held the world record for crossing the Atlantic in 35 days since 1992. Finlay hopes to finish the course, arriving at the Island of Martinique in the Caribbean in roughly 30 days. This is the second time Finlay will be attempting to break this record, according to an article in Soundings.

Meanwhile, a British manufacturer of ocean vessels, Woodvale Challenge, is launching a campaign for teams to take on new ocean rowing records over the next two years, according to a recent press release. They are encouraging adventurers from all over the world to apply to take on these various challenges: rowing the North Atlantic from New York to Scilly Isles, about 2,829 nautical miles, North Pacific from Choshi, Japan to San Francisco, about 4,424 nautical miles, and Indian Ocean from Geraldton, Western Australia to Mauritius, about 3,173 nautical miles.

“The very fact that many of the ocean rowing records have remained unbroken for so long is testament to the difficulty of undertaking these routes and the hardship and endurance required by those that try,” states the release.

Both male and female crews are encouraged for each voyage, and each will start from its respective locations in June. For more information on how to become involved, contact Woodvale at

— Elizabeth Ellis