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Row4Ocean Christmas Safari

Day 11 Report: 1200 UTC Monday 24 December

Row4Ocean – World Record Attempt to row 2305nm in under 27 Days. Africa to South America. Port of Departure: Dakar, Senegal, Africa – Port of Arrival: Paramaribo, Suriname, South America.

Team: Patrick Bol, Lewis Knollman,Andrew Ruinoff, Matt Wilds.

On Christmas Eve at 1200 UTC the Row4Ocean team was 800 miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean in their quest to break multiple Atlantic rowing records and raise awareness from plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. 

“The weather has somewhat changed in the last day or so: less wind, flatter seas and cloud cover,” commented Nick Legatta from Supertramp. “Year of Zayed has used this to their advantage by taking a more direct westerly route. The wind is due to pick up over the next few days, and speed their progress to the finish line. We have seen the boys fishing off-watch, especially Matt (Wilds) and Andrew (Ruinoff). Matt got a huge Mahi Mahi on the line, one of the biggest I have ever seen, but the big bull got away, so I guess it will be freeze-dried dining for Christmas Day for the team.”

Library picture: Tony Hisgett

The wildlife safari has been amazing as Nick Leggatt continues: “Last night it was very calm, we were about 50 metres from “Year of Zayed” when we saw Pilot Whales surfacing between us, they were so close we could hear them breathing, at sunrise we saw a large number of them.”

Library picture: Man-of-war Jellyfish 



“Unfortunately one encounter with wildlife has left rower Matt Wilds with more soreness to go with his sore back and hands. “Matt had his hand over the side of the boat and it got wrapped by a Portuguese Man-of-War jellyfish. He is okay but it was painful for a while. We should be able to cheer them up though; we have lots of messages from their families to give them for Christmas.”

Nick Leggatt also reported that the team have seen several large container ships in the last few days: “We are in one of the busiest shipping routes between Africa and South America, just yesterday three ships were close by, Year of Zayed was in contact with them over the VHF, and two of th ships kindly altered course to give them some sea room – very hospitable.”

Row4Ocean is raising awareness of plastic pollution in our oceans. According to reports, 8 billion kilos of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year, that’s a staggering 22,000,000 kilos of plastic every day; 900,000 kilos of plastic per hour; the equivalent of 60 container loads each weighing 15 tons. No wonder our beaches are covered in plastic debris. The problem will be with us for generations. Over the course of time the sun breaks down plastic into micro plastics. Fish and other marine life end up with plastic in their digestive system, which eventually makes it into the human food chain.

13 thoughts on “Row4Ocean Christmas Safari

  1. Hi Guys

    What a adventure you are in. Not knowing Matt personally, but wishing him all the best to recover from the nasty “attack”. Probably the Mahi-Mahi which escaped told the Portuguese Man-of-War jellyfish about you and this one was angry 🙂

    However, Guys, we are so very proud of you and you make it! Go for it.
    Have a save rowing

  2. Well Matt, that’s something to add to your shark bite story! Let’s hope that’s the end of it and you are feeling much better x You’re all making great progress, long may it continue 🙂

  3. Merry Christmas Patrick and fellow rowers …. seems that the weather is indeed in your favour …. your efforts are well recognised and the cause of plastic in the oceans is well received

  4. Happy to hear good news.
    I wish you all the best for the Christmas and to let you know that you are not alone in the ocean

  5. Two Scottish friends letting you know we are thinking about you, and wish you a very merry Christmas. You are a shining example to us all. Keep going.
    All the best.

  6. Capt Forbes and the crews of both vessels,
    Wishing you a great Xmas Day and may the New Year bring you your goal.
    Truly, fair winds and smooth seas, travel well.
    Best regards,
    Dubai, Melbourne, Perth & Margaret River.

  7. Over 80 sailing yachts depart tomorrow from Sydney to Hobart theirs is only a two to four day ‘jaunt’ under sail compared to yours, rowing 27 days. Happy rowing Christmas.

  8. Merry Christmas Commander Patrick and team. Keep up the good work and spirit. You are inspiring us. Your effort and message will make history and will only make us say: aye, aye, Captains. Have good wind and good sea.

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