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


British adventurer starts bid to row across Indian Ocean

Friday, 28-Feb-2003 7:20AM PST

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

PERTH, Australia, Feb 28 (AFP) - A British adventurer set out from Western Australia Friday in a bid to set three records for the marathon 5600 kilometre (3478 miles) row across the Indian Ocean to Reunion Island.


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

Chalk's father, Roger, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation late Friday his son was making excellent progress and had covered about 70 kilometres (44 miles) by nightfall.

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.

He said he wants to reach Reunion Island, off the coast of Madagascar, within 64 days.

Roger Chalk said that if Simon was able to maintain the speed he had achieved on his first day, he would row the distance in 50 days.

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

He said just 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.