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Devon rower aims for ocean record

Ocean rowers Rob Munslow and Simon Chalk are about to attempt to row 3,200 miles across the Indian Ocean.
The trip will take them from Kalbari, Western Australia to Reunion Island, off the coast of Madagascar.
February, 2003
A Devon rower is preparing to embark on an expedition that he hopes will take him across the Indian Ocean in record-breaking time.

Simon Chalk, 30, from Newton Abbot first attempted the challenge last May.

Now he has a new boat, and a new rowing partner, Robert Munslow, 24, from Monmouth, Wales.

Simon and Rob's journey across the Indian Ocean will begin on 22 February 2003.

Setting off from Kalbarri in Western Australia, they aim to arrive at Reunion Island off the coast of Madagascar no more than 64 days later.


Simon Chalk and Rob Munslow test the new boat

From point to point it's 3,200 miles but the boys' route is nearer 3,800 miles.

During the day they will be rowing constantly in two hour shifts.

At night they will each do a four hour stint.

The intention is to maintain a 50 mile-a-day average.

At midpoint they will be 1,500 miles from land and four days from rescue.

If Simon and Rob are successful there are four world records up for grabs.

They will be the first Brits, the first pair, the youngest team and, if they make it within 64 days, the fastest.

Determination to finish


Simon Chalk is making a second attempt on the Indian Ocean crossing

Spurring them on is the fact that a rival Australian team will be just a week behind.

Simon and Rob will have a 24-hour contact number in the UK and enough food to last 100 days.

The physical and mental demands are immense but so is their determination.

'There are two ways off this boat,' said Simon, whose attempt last year ended in failure.

'One is at Reunion Island, and the other isn't. I know we're going to do it.'

Simon added: "It's the first double-handed row across the Indian Ocean. It has only been rowed single-handed, 30 years ago."

Simon's previous attempt in May 2002 ended after just three days when the boat was flipped over by a freak wave more than 60 miles off the west Australian coast.

He and his partner Bill Greaves, 41, clung to the hull for 15 hours before being rescued.


But rather than deter him, that experience has spurred him on to try again.

This time, Simon's boat has been designed to right itself should it capsize.


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