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

 


‘Oceanic Fox’ Rommel Begins Transatlantic Row

22 July 2004

by Alan Pollock

  CHATHAM — Though it’s not something he readily speaks about, Andreas Rommel has risk-taking in his blood. The grand-nephew of the famed General Erwin Rommel, the Desert Fox, is the latest person to embark on a transatlantic row from Chatham this year.

If he is successful, 34-year-old Andreas Rommel will become the first German to complete the feat. He is the fourth person, and likely the last, to leave Chatham this season. Of the three other rowers, two remain at sea (see sidebar).

According to ocean rowing experts, Rommel is departing dangerously late in the season. While there is favorable weather off the coast of the U.S. now, conditions will be much worse when he arrives off the coast of Europe in two or three months, Ocean Rowing Society Executive Director Kenneth Crutchlow said.

“It’s apropos that his biggest sponsor is an online poker house,” Crutchlow said. “This man is a gambler.” Rommel’s boat bears the name of several financial backers, including “Partypoker.com.”

Though he planned to depart last Monday, he was obliged to wait until Wednesday for the delivery of two satellite tracking beacons from the Ocean Rowing Society. On Thursday, a leaky hatch and various other problems kept Rommel from departing his slip at Outermost Harbor. On Friday, shortly after a replacement satellite phone arrived by overnight delivery, Rommel was towed out by a Chatham harbor patrol boat and began his trip.

As of Monday, Rommel’s state-of-the-art ocean rowboat Lady Georgia was located 61 miles east of Chatham; 3,013 miles lay between it and Lands End, U.K., Rommel’s intended destination.

Though this is Rommel’s first attempt at ocean rowing, and his boat has never undergone sea trials, the transatlantic passage is just the first of a series of rows designed to take the adventurer across the Indian ocean starting in May 2005, and across the North Pacific Ocean from Japan to San Francisco in 2006.


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