For immediate release
Contact: Kate Merlino
August 16, 2000
(212) 297-6150

CELTIC CROSSING EXPEDITION ENDS
Voyage Aborted Due to Adverse Weather Conditions

Atlantic Ocean . . . Roy Finlay, Skipper of RV Celtic Crossing, today announced that the trans-Atlantic row expedition that he and mate Colleen Cronin had begun on July 28th was being aborted. They are rowing back to their point of departure, St. John's, Newfoundland. The daring expedition was an attempt to set a new world record rowing west-to-east across the Atlantic. The record stands at 55 days and was set in 1987.

"Adverse weather conditions have prevented us from making enough progress on our row towards Ireland. Near-constant winds have come from the north, east and south, making easterly progress nearly impossible," says Finlay. "Colleen and I are disappointed not to be able to continue the voyage, but it would be foolhardy to try in the face of the current weather conditions." The weather is the worst it has been in the North Atlantic in the past ten years. Tropical storm Alberto is currently active in the Atlantic with 50 mph and a new tropical depression is forming, both of which are causing high winds and heavy rain that affect RV Celtic Crossing.

Finlay went on to say, "Colleen has been terrific throughout the voyage. She's a strong rower and a great companion. Our boat has also performed extremely well. We have every intention of trying again." Cronin added about Roy, "I wouldn't have gone to sea with anyone else. Roy and I look forward to making another voyage." RV Celtic Crossing has not called for any outside assistance and the team will be returning "under their own steam" according to Finlay. The row back to Newfoundland should take about a week. Finlay and Cronin will then plot their next Atlantic journey with RV Celtic Crossing, the 26-foot stabilized mono-hull that they built by hand.

Great Spirits, the importer and marketer of ultra-premium spirits that sponsored the expedition, also expresses regret but praises the team. "We feel that they showed good judgment in turning back, given the persistently hostile weather conditions. We expect that Roy and Colleen will re-group and go again next year. In the meantime, we hope that they bring RV Celtic Crossing back to America, so that the growing number of people following their attempt to break the record can see the boat and understand the degree of courage and stamina required for the mission," says Mark Andrews, President of Great Spirits. "Celtic Crossing is a symbol of the many brave voyages across the Atlantic taken by those of Celtic ancestry. Roy Finlay and Colleen Cronin are to be commended for their steadfastness in the face of incredible obstacles."


A MESSAGE FROM COLLEEN AND ROY:

Hi everyone,

As you have now read in the press release that went out today, our voyage is over and we are heading back to St. John's, Newfoundland. I don't think I can put into words the feelings that are spinning in this head of mine. Roy is disappointed, but knows this is the decision that had to be made. Don't know if you all realize what the weather really has been like out here. We have had no luck since Day 2. The strong easterly winds that we experienced prevented us from not only gaining no miles, but losing as well. Last Thursday was the last night we had a successful row. In fact, I still recall rowing during the dark cold night, but loving every minute of it as I listened to Janus Joplin on my Walkman, because we had finally gotten passed the Labrador current and into the Gulf Stream. This current would have taken us all the way to Ireland. Unfortunately, a few hours later, the winds were changing, the rain came pouring down, and before we knew it an easterly wind was on its way. We couldn't believe it. We had no choice but to put the sea anchor out to prevent us from drifting west. For days we sat and waited. We could not call because the phone battery needed to be recharged, but this could not be done as the rain prevented us from using the generator to recharge the batteries. By Saturday, we heard of the hurricane from Louise Kearney who has been giving us weather updates everyday. We had no choice at this time but to turn back. We did not want to inform anyone as our decision was not final until today. I can't believe it. Although I know Roy is making the correct decision, the disappointment is almost unbearable. To achieve a goal one sets for oneself, for me, is the most incredible feeling. I actually had tears of joy in my eyes as I would row with the thought of achieving this challenge. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen. I can recall a similar experience, and that is when I trained for the Boston-to-New York Aids Ride. I trained for 5 months to cycle from Boston to New York in 3 days. On the first day only 20 miles in, I tore the pcl of my knee. I was never so devastated.

I never imagined so many people would be following us along as we attempted to row to Ireland. The response of emails we received has been tremendous. I cannot thank everyone enough for all the support and prayers you have given us. I have to say I think that is definitely a huge part of the disappointment, the idea that it is over for all of you as well. I know you have all enjoyed following us along. Well, I have to say to many of you who will not be surprised, that this is not the end. Our journey will continue. We have many thoughts of definitely attempting again next year. In fact, we are even considering another voyage even earlier, stay tuned.

I would like everyone to know that if it were not for our sponsor, Great Spirits, we would not be where we are today. I thank you both, Mark Andrews and Roseann Sessa, for all your support in making this a dream come true. Great Spirits markets an Irish liqueur, Celtic Crossing, that is how we got the name for the boat. Anyway, it is an absolute must try. I am not a liquor drinker and I love it. And I cannot forget Alice. Alice, thank you for organizing the communication installation. Without this I know we'd have a lot of worriers out there. The email communication has been fabulous. And also thank you Kate for all the work you've done regarding publicity. The NY times article was great!

Well, I will be heading for New York shortly. I am so looking forward to seeing my family and friends!!!! Can't wait for our McSorley's outing, girls! Marilou, so looking forward to our dinner, spinach and wine. Thanks Al for the hurricane. Grace deli real soon for a huge delicious hero and a happy hour beer. Oh, and I am so excited for NY Pizza!!! And yes, I can still go to Boston for the Yankee game. Sorry Pat but I saved the extra ticket just in case I made it home in time. Besides, you really don't want to sit next to 12 New Yorkers as we root our team to a win. Looking so forward to seeing you all - Kev, Connie, Billy, Helen, Carol, Mom, Dad, Kathleen, Bruce, and of course my two nephews, James and Nathaniel. Hey Carol, I'll be home to celebrate your 21st Birthday!!!!! Melissa, please tell Alicia sorry can't make her wedding but will be thinking of her and Eddie on their special day.

I will give everyone a call when I get home. Looking forward to seeing you all. Sorry the excitement is over for now, but it is just temporary. Oh and Ro, can't forget, thank you so much for keeping me up to date on the Yanks. I still can't believe they got Jose Canseco. Something tells me I'm not going to recognize the team when I get home.

PS: I hear there is an article in the Daily News. Check it out.
Bye for now,
Colleen and Roy