Monday, March 15, 2010
rower to cross an ocean solo - Katie Spotz sets world record
GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- After a bold 2,817 mile (4,500
kilometer) journey from west Africa that took her 70 days,
five hours and 22 minutes to complete, Katie Spotz,
22, arrived in Guyana, in South America , setting the world record for the Youngest
rower to cross an ocean solo.
Photo: Katie Spotz at the end of her solo marathon
in Georgetown/AP photo (enlarge
"The hardest part was just the solo
part," Spotz said, saying she struggled with boredom and had
trouble sleeping inside the cramped, 19-foot (6-meter) row
"It was very difficult to sleep on the boat
so I had some serious sleep-deprivation and rowing ten hours
is difficult enough and having to do that with little sleep
was a real challenge, so that was tough," she said. Spotz
also had to deal with sores, rashes and blisters, but said
the discomforts "were nothing serious."
Arriving in Guyana she was treated to watermelon,
her first fresh food for more than two months, having relied
on dehydrated meals and energy bars for nutrition during her
Spotz was greeted by a welcome party as
she arrived in Guyana, and the country's Tourism Minister
Manniram Prashad said he was hopeful that her trip would raise
the profile of the country's fledgling eco-tourism industry.
"We're very happy that Guyana is in the spotlight and it will
make, I suspect, more and more people want to come to Guyana,"
"The world record for the Youngest
rower to cross an ocean solo is just a bonus for Katie.
Rowing the Atlantic and raising funds for clean water are
the things she really cares about," said her coach Sam Williams.
She traveled without any support boat
aside from a Coast Guard vessel that escorted her to Guyana's
coast. Her original estimation for the journey was
three months or more, but due to her “determination and focus”,
as well as good weather conditions, she had a speedy journey.
Photo: Her journey began in Dakar, Senegal
in her special rowboat called Liv. The boat is designed for
sea travel and can weather 30 foot waves. (enlarge
Spotz rowed for as many as 10 hours
a day with breaks for naps, navigation and boat maintenance.
At night, she would drift aboard the specially designed ocean
row boat, which had equipment including solar panels for power,
a satellite phone and a laptop computer.
She had little fresh food aside from
sprouts grown aboard the boat. "I would cook three dehydrated
meals a day on a little stove," she said as she devoured a
melon at the dock in Georgetown. "At night I would update
my Facebook and e-mails. There is not much else to do on a
Some of the most harrowing moments
came near the voyage's end. As she approached the continental
shelf, waves crashed over the boat and Spotz worried it would
capsize. She had to use a fire extinguisher after a piece
of tracking equipment caught fire.
The cost of Spotz's trip was covered
by a number of sponsors and she managed to raise 84,510 dollars
from donors for the Blue Water Run Foundation, a San Francisco-based
group dedicated to delivering safe and clean drinking water
to communities worldwide.
“I am so thankful to all of the people who
followed my journey and sent me encouraging messages, but
especially for their donations and support for safe drinking
water, which were inspirations for the row. I am also very
grateful for the support of my sponsors, including my title
sponsor, GaREAT Sport Complex in Geneva, Ohio, as well as
Pentair Water, World Shipping, Kinetico Water Systems, Moen,
Weatherguy.com, Germ Guardian, and so many more who helped
fund my journey through corporate contributions,” said Spotz.
Her family was extremely relived to see
her make it through the latest adventure. "The first thing
I did was call my wife in Ohio to tell her she landed safe
and sound," said Dan Spotz, her father.
On the Net:
Spotz site: http://rowforwater.com
The previous world record for the youngest
rower to cross an ocean solo was set by Oliver Hicks,
a British man who was 23 when he rowed from New Jersey to England
in 2005, according to Kenneth Crutchlow, the London-based executive
director of the Ocean Rowing Society.
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