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

 


Port St Charles Barbados 3rd March 2004

Shortly after 17:00 GMT on 3rd March 2004, the s/v Svoboda, currently at Port St Charles as a support vessel for the Ocean Rowing Society Regatta currently in progress, departed in search of Stue, then about ten miles off North Point. On board were Captain Rik, Stein Hof, Stuart's immediate family, Kenneth Crutchlow, ocean rower Jan Meek, and camera man Mark of Media37.

After a smooth transit up the Western coast of Barbados, the sea state changed considerably as the head of the island was reached, with the wind picking up, and a very significant swell. Half of those on board became ill in short order, and we obtained a very small insight in to the conditions that Stue has not just tolerated, but lived through, rowed through, and kept faith in his ability and his boat through, for one hundred and nine days.

The s/v Svoboda knew in which area of sea to start looking for Stue, very quickly finding him on radar with a strong return. Shortly afterwards, the VHF radio came to life with Stue's voice saying that his active echo had alerted him of our presence. He has often told us of the high regard in which he holds this kit, and the peace of mind it has given him, but it felt very special to be in the vessel triggering this particular alert. 

 As we searched the horizon in exactly the   direction where we knew he was, a rainbow appeared, with the foot exactly on his bearing. This in itself was a good omen, but what Stue doesn't yet know as I write this bulletin is that his family have all written a card of congratulations for him, the front cover of which, is a rainbow. An omen indeed.

 After a few brief snatched sightings of Macmillan Spirit came the good visual contact we all strove for, and with it, a VHF call from Stue, "Good to see you all!"

Having then held station a safe distance away from Macmillan Spirit for the last few miles, at 23:20GMT, those on board s/v Svoboda witnessed the emotional sight of Stue rowing through 13 degrees 26.6 North, 59 degrees 37.0 West, thereby completing his solo, unassisted, crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. What an incredible achievement to salute, and to quote how we cheered him at the time, "Stue, you're simply the best!"

The significance of the line of longitude given as 59 degrees 37.0 West is that this is the Ocean Rowing Society recognised line considered as designating a successful East-West crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. Of course every rower then wishes to make unassisted landfall if possible, but history shows that to safely conduct such a landing is very much subject to favourable weather conditions. This is simply because no rower can row against the currents and wind that often prevail in this part of the world. Having crossed the line, Stue therefore accepted a tow from s/v Svoboda to safe mooring off shore for the night, from where he will row in to Port St Charles at 13:00 GMT on Thursday, 4th March 2004. Thursday is going to be quite a day!

Steve

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