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




12:00 - 22 February 2003 

Daredevil Simon Chalk does not shirk in the face of adversity, he just gets stronger and more determined. That is why the 30-year-old Newton Abbot property developer is trying again to row the Indian Ocean - this time solo.

He first attempted the challenge in May last year and was dramatically rescued with his rowing partner Bill Greaves after their boat capsized.

The two clung to their hull for 15 hours in shark-infested waters before they were saved by a passing ship.

Simon hoped to set off again on the world record-breaking attempt next Friday with a new partner, Robert Munslow from Wales.

But after discussions between the two, it was decided Robert would pull out of the 4,500-mile journey that has been done just once before.

Simon now finds himself in a similar position to that of Devon superhero Debra Veal who was left to row the Atlantic Ocean by herself after her rowing partner and husband Andrew had to pull out. Simon said: "Robert still wanted to do it but I personally think it wasn't going to work. He has been very good about it and we are still friends. There is no animosity between us.

"I have been very focused on this and my reasons for doing it and his were very different."

Simon intends to row up to 18 hours a day during the journey from Kalbarri on the west coast of Australia to Reunion Island, off the coast of Madagascar. He said: "It has not crossed my mind not to do it, too much work and too much effort has gone into it, I have wanted to do it for two years and I still plan to set off next Friday."

The last and only successful attempt to row the Indian Ocean was completed by Sweden's Anders Svedlund in 1971 and was completed in 64 days.

If Simon completes the maritime marathon within that time, he will be the fastest, youngest and first Britain to do it.

His mother Lesley Bowden, speaking from Australia, said: "I am naturally apprehensive but hoping he will do it this time.

"They are putting the boat in the water today for a trial and everything seems to be going well. Simon has been keeping fit and watching his diet. He's rowed an ocean before so he knows how to cope."

She said he would have plenty of DVDs, CDs and books on board the boat to keep away the boredom.