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

 


Great-nephew of the Desert Fox fails in ocean row attempt

3 September 2004

BRIAN DONNELLY

 THE great-nephew of Rommel, the German second world war general known as the Desert Fox, was last night rescued from an attempt to row solo across the Atlantic.
Calling himself the Oceanic Fox, Andreas Rommel, 34, was lifted to safety to a nearby ship from his 23ft vessel the Lady Georgia, 420 miles east of St John's, Newfoundland, after being hit by a tropical storm.
Attempting to be the first German to cross an ocean alone in a rowing boat, he set off in July from Cape Cod in the US to travel more than 3000 miles to Land's End. He was 47 days into the three-month crossing when he was forced to call for help.
The first news that the journey had come to an abrupt halt was picked up by RAF Kinloss in Morayshire.
Halifax coastguard in Canada organised the search-and-rescue operation.
Mr Rommel was taken on board the Federal Elbe, a Canadian bulk carrier, in a rescue operation in difficult conditions. His boat was recovered and taken on to the ship.
During the tropical storm his boat had capsized, coastguards said, and taken on water. Mr Rommel was able to right the vessel and activate his distress beacon. He was reported to be well after his 11-hour ordeal.
Andrew Caines, a coastguard at Halifax, Nova Scotia, said that despite earlier reports that the boat was breaking up, the vessel had taken on a lot of water in 15ft waves.
According to ocean rowing experts, Mr Rommel departed dangerously late in the season. While there was favourable weather off the coast of the US at the time, conditions had been expected to be much worse if Mr Rommel had arrived off the English coast on schedule, according to Kenneth Crutchlow, executive director of the Ocean Rowing Society. He added: "This man is a gambler."
Though this was Mr Rommel's first attempt at ocean rowing, and his boat had 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 Pacific Ocean from Japan to San Francisco in 2006. He planned to be the first solo rower to cross three oceans.


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