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British adventurer has good day in Indian Ocean row

Wednesday, 05-Mar-2003 9:40PM PST

Story from AFP
Copyright 2003 by Agence France-Presse (via ClariNet) 

 
PERTH, Australia, Mar 6 (AFP) - A British adventurer aiming to row solo across the Indian Ocean from Western Australia to Reunion Island has made good progress in the past 24 hours, his father said Thursday.

 

Roger Chalk told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation from England that his son, Simon, had covered about 32 kilometres (20 miles) despite rough conditions.

"In total, in his first six days he has now rowed about 125 kilometres (78 miles) of the 5,600 kilometes (3,478 miles) he is aiming to travel in less than 64 days," Roger Chalk said.

"Despite the slowish start, he is still very upbeat, and once he gets over the continental shelf into deeper water he will pick up speed and be well on his way," Chalk said. "He is still on track to achieve his target.

"On the other side of the shelf, he will be able to do anything up to 110 to 125 kilometres (68 to 78 miles) a day."

He said Simon had overcome early seasickness, but was still being troubled by sunburn.

"Despite that, he has been able to use his water-maker and fill up all his containers, and everything else on the boat is working fine -- even after the boat tipped over a few days earlier," he said.

Simon Chalk, 30, an engineer from Devon, launched his attempt Friday in a customised rowboat, the 7.3 metre (23 feet) True Spirit, from the tiny town of Kalbarri, north of here.

After a promising first day -- in which he covered almost 70 kilometres (44 miles) he was slowed down by seasickness, sunburn, rough seas and unfavorable winds.

He spent the weekend retracing his steps after the winds pushed him back to within about 19 kilometres (12 miles) of his starting point.

Chalk's solo effort follows a failed two-man bid a year ago when the little boat carrying him and Englishman Bill Greaves capsized on the third day after being hit by a whale or a massive wave.

Chalk's aim is to become the first Briton to row across the Indian Ocean, the youngest person to do it and the fastest to complete the journey.

Simon Chalk plans to row up to 18 hours a day, sustaining himself on army rations.

He said before leaving Kalbarri, a popular tourist spot, he was undaunted by his unsuccessful bid last year.

"There are not many firsts left," he said. "Everyone says why am I doing this? But why not? If I can inspire someone else to do something different with their life, then I have achieved something."

Chalk says he has completed a strict fitness programme in his preparation for the trip.

His boat is packed with safety equipment, including a life raft and jackets, tracking beacons, flares and location beacons.

The only other person to row across the Indian Ocean was Swede Anders Sbedland in 1971.

jy/nj

Australia-Britain


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