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A Male/female team is attempting to set a new record for rowing across
Atlantic Ocean West to East.

The journey began July 28th at 20.06 GMT.

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For press office Contact: Kate Merlino in New York (212) 297-6150

New York, NY

Great Spirits, an importer and marketer of ultra-premium spirits including
Celtic Crossing(r) Liqueur, is the sponsor of a daring 2-person,
west-to-east row across the Atlantic.The expedition, in a specially-built
rowing vessel named Celtic Crossing, will be the first attempted crossing
by a male/female crew. The row will attempt to break the current
west-to-east world record of 55 days set in 1987 by Tom McClean (GB) he
rowed from St John's Newfoundland to Bishops Lighthouse England.
The crew of Celtic Crossing is Skipper Roy Finlay, 38, an ex-Royal Navy
diver from Bridge-of-Weir, Scotland, and First Mate Colleen Cronin, 29, an
extreme sportswoman from Queens, New York. Both Finlay and Cronin are of
Celtic ancestry and are eager to make a record-setting landfall in Ireland
in September. To break McClean's record, the Celtic Crossing will have to
be in motion 24 hours a day, with each crew member rowing a minimum of 12
hours a day.The ocean row started from the narrows of St. John's Harbor in
Newfoundland and it is hoped will finish at Coney Island in Sligo Bay on
the northwest coast of Ireland, 88 miles from the city of Galway. The
rowers are aiming to row a minimum of 70 miles per day for the 1800
nautical mile length of the journey.

Difficulties and Dangers in West-to-East Row
Rowing across the north Atlantic from west-to-east is a far more difficult journey than the more common journey east-to-west. Going from east-to-west,a oceanrowing boat can take advantage of the trade winds and currents blowing off the Sahara Desert and down to the Caribbean. From west-to-east, Celtic Crossing will first head southeast with the Labrador Current, then pick up the Gulf Stream as it heads east to Ireland. The water is far colder, and the iceberg density in the North Atlantic is at its highest level in seven years. The possibility of a northeasterly storm is a constant threat, and wave height can reach up to 30-feet in the open sea. Wind velocity can reach up to 80 mph during a major storm, and the chance of the boat capsizing is ever present. These conditions will be met by the two rowers - Finlay and Cronin - in a boat measuring a mere 26 feet long.
Only ten people have made the oceanrowing journey from west-to-east --- fewer people, in fact, than have walked on the moon. Celtic Crossing will be the first west-to-east crossing in the new millennium.

Why Row the Atlantic?

According to Celtic Crossing's Skipper Roy Finlay, the desire to undertake rowing across the Atlantic is not a case of bravado overcoming good sense but a quest for profound achievement. "The challenge of rowing across the Atlantic is immense - the constant threat of bad weather and the difficulties of daily survival are compounded by the sheer physical stamina needed to keep the boat in motion day after day, week after week," says Finlay. "I know, with Colleen Cronin's help, that I can do it. When Great Spirits and I discussed the possibility of attempting a new world record,their belief in me led me to believe in myself."

A unique vessel for a unique journey.

Celtic Crossing was designed by American boat designer John Scarano along with Roy Finlay. Finlay and his team built the boat by hand in a St.John's warehouse. It is a stabilized mono-hull design. There are sliding seats for the rowers and a sleeping berth that measures slightly over six feet. Celtic Crossing is constructed of wood epoxy composite of Canadian red cedar. The boat is unsupported while at sea - (no other vessel will accompany it on its journey). Safety features include an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) "so we can push the button if we have to," says Finlay, along with on-board life rafts.

The navigation system will be GPS (Global Positioning System.) Daily life on Celtic Crossing consists of constant turns at the oars, with Finlay and Cronin sometimes rowing together and sometimes separately while the other sleeps.Food will be a combination of vacuum-packed and dehydrated provisions.
The boat will carry 200 liters of iceberg water - extracted from icebergs thousands of years old and the purest water available. Two desalination units (to remove salt from sea water rendering it drinkable) will also be on board. Bathroom facilities will be the most basic - bucket and chuck it.

Web to provide constant information

The trans-Atlantic row by Celtic Crossing will be chronicled via its official website, www.celticcrossingrow.com. Skipper Finlay will post a daily message on the journey and its progress every day during the crossing.Visuals will be transmitted via digital photography taken on-board. In addition, the website of the sponsor of the crossing, Great Spirits Company, will carry information on the trans-Atlantic row. Great Spirits' websites www.greatspirits.com.
  Celtic Crossing Liqueur, for which the rowing vessel is named, is a product made in Bailieboro in Co. Cavan, Ireland, which is located just 87 miles from Sligo Bay where Celtic Crossing hopes to reach landfall at the end of its journey.Celtic Crossing Liqueur is a combination of Irish spirits and cognac, with a taste of honey. The liqueur is delicious, accessible and infinitely adaptable - it captures the essence of the Celtic spirit.
According to Mark Andrews, President of Great Spirits, "We salute Roy
Finlay and Colleen Cronin in their daring row across the Atlantic this
summer of 2000. Three cheers for Celtic Crossing!" Great Spirits Company
L.L.C. is a sponsor of this trans-Atlantic row. Celtic Crossing(r) Liqueur
is imported by Great Spirits Company, Manhasset,New York.30% alcohol by

Bios for Celtic Crossing Row press kits:

The Skipper of Celtic Crossing is Roy N. Finlay, 38, an ex-Royal Navy diver from Bridge-of-Weir, Scotland. Finlay brings a lifetime of work and adventure on the high seas to his position leading this trans-Atlanticrow,having started rowing at the age of five in his native Scotland. Sailing came next on his father's boat, then at the age of fourteen Finlay joined the cadets of the Royal Gourock Yacht Club, quickly gaining the Helmsman Certificate allowing him to serve as skipper on the Club's yachts that raced in the Clyde Estuary. At eighteen Finlay joined the Royal Navy, first serving on the minehunter HMS Briton and then on the HMS Guernsey as a diver in the mine warfare branch. He also qualified as coxen of first rigid inflatables, and for six months trained in the weapons trials division. After four years in the Royal Navy, Finlay received an exemplary character reference upon discharge. Finlay next embarked on an increasingly challenging career as a diver and yachtsman, taking the helm of a variety of vessels including a 73-foot Baltic Trader based in Cape Town, South Africa, a 50-foot charter yacht based in St. Martin in the West Indies, and the 37-foot charter yacht Ganesh that he sailed across the Atlantic with a crew of two. He skippered the winning yacht in the Gran Canaria regatta in 1991. As a rower he took a 13-foot dinghy through the lochs that make up the Caledonian Canal to Inverness in Scotland, as well as kayaked around the coast of Scotland to raise money for a charity that housed Romanian orphans. Finlay is currently the expedition builder and skipper of the 26-foot Celtic Crossing, the first stabilized mono-hull to be powered by oar. He plans on setting a new record for a west-to-east crossing of the Atlantic this summer of 2000.


Colleen Cronin, 29, is an extreme sportswoman from Queens, New York.She is no stranger to peak physical performances, having competed in five New York Marathons throughout the 1990's and the Ireland Marathon in 1999. Cronin also is a long-distance cyclist, and will be using her leg strength and mental toughness as she assists Roy Finlay in the trans-Atlantic Celtic Crossing row. Cronin has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's in Education, both from St. John's University. She has taught religious education at Sacred Heart academy, volunteered at the Queens (NY) Children's Psychiatric Center and completed an internship in social work with the Community Mediation Center. Her most recent position, prior to beginning training for the trans-Atlantic row, was as Group Auditor for Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield.Cronin is of German and Irish ancestry, and she first met Finlay while on a visit to Ireland. Her Celtic blood has stirred in her a desire to break the trans-Atlantic west-to-east rowing record, which she and Finlay hope to do in early September 2000.


Row Facts

The goal: To set a new world record rowing across the Atlantic West-to-East
Previous record: 55 days, set in 1987 by Tom McClean St John's
Newfoundland to Bishops Rock Light house England
Crew:Skipper Roy Finlay and First Mate Colleen Cronin, the first
male/female team to attempt such a crossing
Departure: July 28th 2000 20.06GMT 2000
Landing: early September, 2000
Embarkation: the narrows of St. John's Harbor, Newfoundland, Canada
Disembarkation: Coney Island in Sligo Bay on the west coast of Ireland
Sponsor: Great Spirits Company L.L.C., the importer and
marketer of Celtic Crossing(r) Liqueur
The vessel: Celtic Crossing
Type: Stabilized mono-hull
Size: 26-feet in length, 5.5 foot beam
Features: 4 oars, 2 on each side, made of carbon fiber
One 6 foot sleeping berth
Sliding seats
EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon)
GPS (Global Positioning System) navigation system
Sat phone
Life raft
Life jackets
200 liters of iceberg water
Dehydrated and vacuum-packed provisions
2 desalination units
Harnesses (to harness crew to vessel)
Integral compass
Hand held compass
VHF radio
Digital camera