UAE team to row across the Atlantic Ocean in December

It will take 45 to 60 days to complete the 5,000km journey

The Arabian Ocean Rowing Team has announced its plan to cross the Atlantic Ocean. (L to R) The members are Toby Gregory, James Raley, Rai Tamagnini and Fahim Al Qasimi. Photo: The Arabian Ocean Rowing Team
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Four people in the UAE have announced their plan to row across the Atlantic Ocean.

The team will be training and prepping in the coming months and will begin their expedition on December 12.

The unsupported journey of the Arabian Ocean Rowing Team will start from La Gomera, off the coast of Africa, to English Harbour in Antigua.

The team will have to face 40-foot waves and extended sleep deprivation. They will row for two hours and then take a break for two hours for 24 hours a day.

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The launch of the Arabian Ocean Rowing Team at Dubai International Boat Show is the culmination of seven years of dreaming, planning, hoping, and unrelenting hard work
Toby Gregory, team founder

The team of four includes Fahim Al Qasimi, who aims to become the first Emirati to row across an ocean.

Toby Gregory, an ultra-endurance athlete from the UK; James Raley, British Army veteran and adventure travel enthusiast; and Rai Tamagnini, a four-time Ironman, marathon runner and mountaineer from Portugal are the other three participants.

It will take 45 to 60 days to complete the 5,000km journey. The team will be completely unsupported during the expedition and will have to rely entirely on desalinated seawater to hydrate, solar energy to power batteries and electronics, and will have to eat frozen and dried food.

They will be confined to a rowing boat, which is only eight metres long – shorter than the length of two cars.

“The launch of the Arabian Ocean Rowing Team at Dubai International Boat Show is the culmination of seven years of dreaming, planning, hoping, and unrelenting hard work," said Toby Gregory, team founder and project director.

"This long-term dream is now a reality. I believe that if you want something enough you can make it happen, even if the odds are against you."

Fahim Al Qasimi, said: “I am proud to be joining my friends in Arabian Ocean Rowing Team to represent the UAE in the world’s toughest challenge. We’ll be the first team to raise the UAE flag after rowing 5,000km to cross the Atlantic Ocean.”

The team will use the publicity of the adventure to raise awareness about special causes, including environmental sustainability.

They also plan to run a school and university programme to inspire future generations to embrace challenges, pushing them to follow their hearts and chase their dreams.

“Our mission is to help others succeed and we hope our schools and universities programme will inspire the next generation to believe that nothing is impossible for those who will try hard enough. When you have a dream, you've got to grab it and never let go," Mr Gregory said.

Crossing the Atlantic is a big feat. More people have climbed Mount Everest or travelled into space than have rowed across the Atlantic Ocean.

According to Guinness World Records, the first men to row across the Atlantic were George Harbo and Frank Samuelson (both from Norway). They crossed the Atlantic West to East from the US, starting from New York to the Isles of Scilly, UK.

They departed on June 6, 1896, in a 5.48m long boat without sails and arrived on August 1, after rowing 5,262km in 55 days.

The next attempted crossing was seventy years later in 1966, when Sir Chay Blyth and John Ridgeway rowed across the North Atlantic in a 20 ft open dory called English Rose III. They completed the journey in 92 days.

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Updated: March 11, 2022, 8:58 AM
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