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


Solo rower faces storms

By Liza Kappelle

31 March 2003 

BRITISH adventurer Simon Chalk faced fierce storms in the Indian Ocean as he battled to row solo from Australia to Africa.

In an email posted to his website, Chalk described the storms, saying: "All hell's broken out". But he said his spirits remained buoyant and he would continue his journey.

"I had thunder and lighting for two nights and I also got rolled and smashed an oar. It's carnage to be honest," Chalk said.

"First the electronic steering failed. I went to the cabin to get the spare steering wheel which is under the cabin floor, and I found a leak."

Chalk repaired the steering and was working on the leak but some equipment was ruined, including Chalk's emergency repair kit and a satellite phone battery.

Chalk, 30, of Devon, was into the 31st day of a bid to row from Kalbarri, in Western Australia, to Reunion Island, off Africa.

He was travelling in a 7.3 metre craft.

Chalk hopes to break the 64-day record for the trip set by Sweden's Anders Svedlund in 1971.

Despite having rowed a distance of 1576km, he was still only 1376km from Kalbarri yesterday after the difficult weather conditions pushed him backwards.

Despite his troubles, Chalk remained determined to continue his bid.

"This won't stop the expedition by any means ... with everything going on I haven't been able to row much but I think I may have found my current.

"Hopefully by Wednesday I'll have the wind behind me, glorious sunshine to dry everything out and I'll be doing fifty or sixty miles a day."

Chalk's solo bid comes ahead of a paired bid by countrymen Mike Noel-Smith, 45, and Rob Abernethy, 30, who will leave WA in June.

Chalk last tried the crossing with 41-year-old Bill Greaves of Torquay in May last year.

But their bid ended after only days when their boat hit a whale and sank, and they were rescued.