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


Big blue calls solo rower 

By Amanda Banks 

February 28, 2003 

Setting sail: Simon Chalk takes his boat out for the last time before trying to row unassisted across the Indian Ocean. PICTURE: TONY FEDER

BRITISH adventurer Simon Chalk is likely to be overcome by an eerie sense of deja vu when he leaves Kalbarri and heads for the horizon today.

The 30-year-old will set off this morning in an attempt to set three world records by rowing unassisted across the Indian Ocean after failing in a two-man bid last year.

Mr Chalk will spend the next two months in his customised rowboat, True Spirit, battling 15m waves, surviving on army rations and rowing up to 18 hours a day.

If successful, the engineer from Devon, will be the first Briton to row across the Indian Ocean, the youngest person to do it and the fastest to complete the journey.

On the eve of the 5600km journey, Mr Chalk was undaunted by his failed attempt last year. If anything, he is even more determined to reach Reunion Island, off the coast of Madagascar, within 64 days.

"There are not many firsts left," Mr Chalk said. "Everyone says 'why?' but why not? If I can personally inspire someone else to do something different with their life, then I have achieved something."

The clearest evidence of his attitude can be found in the motto on his boat: "One life - live it".

On his first attempt last May, Mr Chalk had planned to cross the ocean with partner, Bill Greaves, but on the third morning their boat capsized after being hit by either a whale or massive wave.

Bruised and bleeding, the pair spent 15 hours clinging to the hull before being rescued in an exercise which cost emergency authorities $30,000.

This time Mr Chalk decided to go solo and admits that when the clock strikes 9.15am on the third day of his venture he is likely to have some strange thoughts.

He is adamant the cause of the failed attempt was a freak accident but has undergone a strict fitness regime and put on weight to prepare for the trip.

The 7.3m True Spirit is packed with safety equipment, including a life raft and jackets, tracking beacons, flares and location beacons.

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

Updates of Mr Chalk's journey can be found on the web at

2003 West Australian Newspapers Limited
All Rights Reserved.