The ORS Int. is the official adjudicator of ocean rowing records for Guinness World Records


British rower chalks up solo success

Monday, June 16, 2003

11:17am (AEST)

A British rower has completed an epic solo voyage across the Indian Ocean after setting off from Kalbarri in Western Australia.

Simon Chalk, who is from Devon, reached an island off Mauritius after rowing more than 5,000 kilometres and spending 108 days at sea. 

He said the experience had been the most incredible four months of his life.

"It would be untrue of me to say that there weren't moments of self-doubt, but I've proven my resilience and have also proven that this ocean can be mastered," he said.

The 30-year-old adventurer becomes the first Briton and the youngest person to row solo across the Indian Ocean. 

Chalk had been aiming to beat the 64-day Australia-Reunion crossing which Swede Anders Sbedland claimed to have achieved in 1971. 

Hostile weather blew him off course and soon ended any chance that Chalk would beat that time, but the Ocean Rowing Society boosted his morale when they told him recently they had no record of Sbedland's row.

They said they would therefore regard Chalk as the first person ever to row solo across the ocean if he completed his mission.

"I've had to use every ounce of energy, guile and cunning to complete this voyage and have drawn upon resources that I never even knew existed."

Earlier this month two other British rowers had to be rescued by the Royal Australian Navy after aborting a similar attempt to row from Western Australia to Reunion, off Madagascar.

Mike Noel-Smith and Rob Abernethy were taken to Fremantle aboard HMAS Newcastle after hitting a severe storm.