Arabian Ocean Rowing Team today launched its historic bid to become the first UAE team to row unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean from La Gomera, off the coast of Africa, to English Harbour in Antigua.
The launch took place on the second day of the 28th Dubai International Boat Show, the region’s largest and most popular marine event, which runs until 13th March at Dubai Harbour – the largest marina in the Middle East.
Facing 40-foot waves and extended sleep deprivation, rowing two hours on, two hours off for 24 hours a day, whilst living in cramped conditions, the row will push the Arabian Ocean Rowing Team crew to the very edge of their physical and mental limits. More people have climbed Mount Everest or travelled into space than have rowed across the Atlantic Ocean.
Considered one of the last great adventures on our planet, the UAE’s Arabian Ocean Rowing Team will use the crossing and the global publicity it will bring to raise awareness about some very special causes, including environmental sustainability.
The team will also be running a schools and university programme designed to inspire future generations to embrace challenges, follow their hearts and chase their dreams.
The team of four UAE residents includes Fahim Al Qasimi, who is aiming to become the first Emirati to row across an Ocean. Joining him on the adventure of a lifetime are 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.
The 5,000km (3,000 mile) crossing, which will take between 45 to 60 days, will be completely unsupported and the team of four will have to be totally self-sufficient for the duration of their expedition, relying entirely on desalinated seawater to hydrate, solar energy to power batteries and electronics and eating freeze-dried food, all while confined to a rowing boat which is only 8 meters (26ft) long – shorter than the length of two cars!
Speaking at the launch, Team Founder and Project Director, Toby Gregory, said: “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 - this long-term dream is now reality. I believe that if you want something enough you can make it happen, even if the odds are against you.
“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.”
Fahim Al Qasimi, added: “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 sport of ocean rowing started in 1896 when a pair of Norwegian fishermen made a gruelling row in an open boat from New York to Europe – a 2,500-mile journey that took them 92 days and 22 hours. It was not until 70 years later that the feat was repeated by Sir Chay Blyth and John Ridgeway.
Following the Arabian Ocean Rowing Team launch at Dubai International Boat Show, Trixie LohMirmand, Executive Vice President, Events Management at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), the event organiser, said: “Dubai International Boat Show has always sought to unite the entire maritime and sea-faring community, so we are thrilled that the Arabian Ocean Racing Team has chosen to launch its inspiring mission at our event. The four-man team and their boat have already generated significant attention and they will have our full support leading up to and during their historic Atlantic crossing.”