Virgin Global Row Update: Rowing To Stand Still

IMG 2435Last week I mentioned that the Virgin Global Row was finally underway with Olly Hicks setting out at long last from Tasmania on his attempt to row around Antarctica, a feat that no one has accomplished before. He’s now been underway for about 12 days, and while it was a fairly smooth beginning to his adventure, it’s gotten tougher in recently.

Olly is now sending dispatches from his boat, something he wasn’t doing when I last posted on his story. You’ll find the most recent messaes on the front page of the Virgin Global Row website, along with a Google Map synchronized with his GPS to show his progress. When I pulled it up earlier to see where he was at, I thought that something must have been malfunctioning, as it appeared as if he was traveling in small circles. Reading the dispatches from the past few days though, I now know what is going on.

It seems that very strong head winds have made it nearly impossible for the British Adventurer to make progress. Olly notes that earlier today he was “going backwards at quite literally a rate of knots” despite his best efforts to row forward, and even while attempting to drop anchor an effort to at least maintain his ground. As you can imagine, he’s quite frustrated and exhausted at this point, but admitted that he felt better “fortified by a little supper, a wee Whisky”.

After making solid progress in his first few days, it now seems that Olly is already struggling just to stay where he is at. I expect that he’ll face many more days like this one, as the weather at 50º South is unpredictable at best, and almost always intense. The journey is expected to take him approximately 500 days to complete, and is especially dangerous due to the remote nature of the Southern Ocean. Hopefully there will be better days ahead for Olly and his boat.

Kraig Becker

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