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




March 18th 2004



Two years ago I was asked to assist with arrangements for the arrival in Falmouth of Skandia Atlantic Spirit, a rowing boat whose four-man crew were attempting to break the West to East Atlantic rowing record.

The crew under the leadership of Mark Stubbs set off from Newfoundland in June, but was forced to abandon the attempt with severe steering and rudder problems.

This year the team is preparing for another attempt. The rowing boat to be used is the Skandia Atlantic Spirit, designed by Adrian Thompson and used in 2002, but now re-named Pink Lady on account of the main sponsor being involved in growing Pink Lady apples.

Falmouth promises to be the finish of an intriguing rowing race as the three original crew members on board SAS have started a rival bid at the West/East rowing record. Steve Dawson has joined George Rock, Nigel Morris and Rob Munslow in a new boat currently under the name of the Atlantic4 Challenge.

Both teams are naturally anxious to have another crack at this rowing record in the next 12 months due to the fact that in 2005 Chay Blyth's Challenge Business was to have organised a 15-team event called the Ocean Fours Rowing Challenge. Blyth's company has subsequently sold the race rights to Woodvale Events as well as rights to the Two Man Atlantic Rowing Race, which takes place between the Canary Isles and Barbados.

Originally four local men were preparing to accept the risks and dangers inherent in such an undertaking and were hard at work training and fund raising to compete in the Ocean Four-Rowing Challenge in 2005.

All four rowers Bob Warren, Chris Barrett, Chay Richardson and Will Crews are well known locals on the Roseland Peninsula and the whole community have been backing the lads in their efforts to make the start line in June 2005.

Sadly Will Crews and Chay Richardson have had to pull out of the event for personal reasons leaving Warren and Barrett short handed for a race due to start in June next year.

Fortunately with Woodvale buying both Challenge events the boys have been able to switch to the double-handed Atlantic Row from La Gomera to Barbados due to also be held in October 2005.

There have been three
* Atlantic rows to date in 1997, 2001 and 2003 and the Cornish have been very well represented in the previous races.In 1997 I was delighted to follow the exploits of three of the 17 competitors all with family connections here in the Westcountry. St Mawes-based boatbuilder Jon Leach built the entry Golden Fleece for Daniel Innes and Andrew Whittaker, which completed the crossing in 61 days. Unfortunately due to injury Andrew had to be replaced at very short notice by Pete Lowe and it was highly creditable to start, let alone finish, as Pete had not trained for 60-odd days at sea.

Russell Reid with Andrew Watson rowed across in 64 days on board Bitzer. Fowey boys Louis Hunkin and Michael Elliott on board Cornish Challenger took 66 days but had the satisfaction of both building and rowing their own boat.

As members of the Roseland Gig Club, both Bob and Chris have been active in long distance gig rowing for several years. The first row attempted by the club was in 1991 and was a straightforward Channel crossing rowing from St Mawes to Roscoff.

Several members of the club after the success of that venture decided in 1995 that a more difficult challenge was needed and a crew including both Atlantic rowers rowed from Newquay in Cornwall to Courtmacsherry in Southern Ireland.

A further long distance row was initiated in 2000 when a Roseland gig rowed around Cornwall from Bude to Plymouth.

The boys have already committed themselves to finance the £20,000 entry fee for the four-man event and were busy raising the £10,000 to purchase their boat kit. They plan to purchase a second-hand boat to compete in the race.

Fundraising is under way to get Bob and Chris to the start in the Canaries and any donations or support would be most welcome.

 Contact numbers are Norma Edwards on 01872 271266 or Bob Warren 01872 580964. Any surplus funds will be donated to the Air Ambulance and the Fire Brigade Benevolent Fund.


* - correction: January 20th 2004 was the start of the 4th Atlantic rowing race organized by the Ocean Rowing Society -                                                                                        ORSARR 2004