Saturday, December 31, 2011

After rowing to the pole, a rowing race across the Atlantic

One last post to slip into 2011 with a seasonally chilly feel.

The three men yawn-fest might have disappointed but afterwards the iPlayer suggested I watch a documentary called "Rowing the Arctic" and that was a lot more interesting.

It described the expedition last summer to row to the North Pole, highlighting how global warming has reduced Arctic summer ice cover.

However it should be pointed out that in this case they meant the magnetic North Pole, and in particular the 1996 magnetic North Pole which was somewhere at the top of Canada.

You might remember the route as the one that the Top Gear team followed a few years ago in 4x4s, though they chose to drive in Spring when the ice is at its thickest.

In this case it was August when 6 rowers, explorers and Arctic specialists set out from Resolute Bay to row the 450 NM to 78.595°N 104.1983°W. After 28 days of hard work and battling ice and polar bears they made it.

Led by polar veteran Jock Wishart the crew included Mark Beaumont who you might have seen in the TV series The Man who Cycled the Americas.

Now Mark has just announced a new project - to try to beat the record for rowing the Atlantic, and cross in under 30 days. Given it took us on Ocean Wanderer 21 days sailing that seems very ambitious to me.

But then I haven't rowed to the North Pole, though I have just been ice skating again at the Natural History Museum, rather wobbly.

You have to start somewhere.

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