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Rower proves persistent

FEB. 7 — After a failed attempt last year, a New York City man is planning again to row solo across the Atlantic to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS prevention.

Victor Mooney, who is 42 and from Queens, was rescued last May by the Senegal Navy after his 24-foot handmade plywood boat, named John Paul the Great, began to take on water only three hours into his row, according to information on his Web site. On Wednesday, Mooney unveiled plans for a new ocean rowing boat.

Mooney plans to begin his row across the Atlantic Dec. 1 (World AIDS Day) from Gorée Island off western Africa — where a prison and auction site once were located for captured Africans bound for the slave trade in the Americas, news reports say. He hopes to reach the Caribbean about three months later.

Mooney, a founder of the Brooklyn-based South African Arts International cultural organization, lost one brother to AIDS in 1983, and another is living with the disease, according to the site. He is raising money for the expedition, called Gorée Challenge II, to donate to AIDS charities worldwide.

— Jason Fell