Rowing from New York to Holland

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Weather permitting, four Dutch rowers will set off on May 23rd from Manhattan New York to row across the Northern Atlantic Ocean in less than 55 days. Their world record attempt will end at the Scilly Isles just off the Southwest coast of Cornwall (UK). After this world record leg of their attempt they will continue to row home to their home port Rotterdam in the Netherlands. More information available at

This summer four former students from Erasmus University Rotterdam will attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Manhattan Island New York to the Scilly-Islands (UK). After reaching the Scilly Isles they intend to continue to row on to their home port Rotterdam. They will be covering a total distance of 6350 kilometers or over 3500 nautical miles. The Ocean Fours crew members are the first Dutchmen to attempt this Northern Atlantic Crossing in a rowing boat. The goal is to be the first boat to beat the 109 year old record held by Samuelson and Harbo which dates back to 1896.

In 1896 Frank Samuelson and George Harbo, two New Jersey Fishermen of Norwegian descent, crossed the Atlantic Ocean in their wooden skiff the “Fox”. It took them 55 days to reach the Scilly Islands. Their record still stands firmly after 34 attempts and 12 successful crossings.

A world record will only be valid when the crossing is made fully self supported. To achieve this the crew will carry 56 days of freeze dried food, a water desalinator to make fresh water out of sea water, a gas stove for cooking and a bucket acting as the toilet. Their boat, the Vopak Victory, is 11,1 meters long (just under 36 feet) and 1,80 meters wide (just under 6 feet) and has been specifically designed for this crossing. It has a front and rear cabin in between which there are three rowing positions. The former students from Erasmus University Rotterdam are all experienced rowers and have temporarily given up their daily occupations (Medical Doctor, Project-Manager, unemployed and Accountant).

Title sponsor Vopak together with Port of Rotterdam and the National Postcode Lottery (WWF) as well as forty sub sponsors and close to a hundred individual contributors are making this project possible by funding the 220,000 Euros. After the race the boat will be sold and the proceeds, an estimated 30,000 Euro, will be donated to the Dutch Cancer Foundation.

After more than two and a half year of preparations boat and crew are well prepared and the guys are looking forward to the challenge. Wind and weather permitting the start is planned for 23rd May 2005 10:30 AM from Manhattan Island New York (Check for recent updates on the start)

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Max Kloosterman