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September 2018

“No matter how many buildings, foundations, schools and hospitals we build, or how many bridges we raise, all these are material entities. The real spirit behind the progress is the human spirit, the able man with his intellect and capabilities.” Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

In 2017, Patrick Bol was asked to assist a Dutch Ocean Rowing team with their project, but it became apparent that they were not financially committed. Patrick was talking with his neighbour Clive Frost at a party about the project.

“Don’t give up,” commented Clive. “Keep the project alive but make it a Dubai project, I will back you up financially, we will manage it together and I will even arrange you rowers.” In October 2017, the Row4Ocean syndicate was born. On December 14, 2018 the Row4Ocean team of Patrick Bol, Lewis Knollman, Andrew Ruinoff, and Matt Wilds, will set off from Dakar, Senegal with the aim of crossing the Atlantic Ocean in 27 days. Drawing attention to the ocean’s plastic pollution problem and smashing world records along the way.

Patrick Bol gives an overview of how the design and build came about:

“Initially I had my reservations about this arduous rowing in heavy and slow monohulls. Then I got to know faster multihull solutions and I started to like the concept. We wanted more comfort for the rowers, better ergonomics, better recovery comfort and above all stability. With some consultation of experts in the field blended with my own know-how and vision we started to think about the hull shape and design requirements.After some design experiences with European designers and builders, I asked for help from John Cable Mariner Designs. It took until the end of April 2017 until we had a good design and mass estimate, we started from scratch with a ton of design challenges to tackle.


Then Clive brought Premier Composites Technologies (PCT) into the equation as the boat builder, and it all came together rather nicely. After we came to an agreement with DPWorld as lead sponsor with tremendous support from Sultan bin Sulayem and Daniel van Otterdijk Corp. Communications, we started the build in early May 2018. Without DPWorld headline sponsorship the project would not have stood a chance in the current setting or with such an technologically advanced boat. PCT was building from Carbon fibre with Nomex filling material, a bit space age and normally out of layman’s reach in terms of budget.”

“Year of Zayed” is technically the fastest Ocean rowing boat ever built. At 39.5 ft in length, 23ft wide, weighing nearly 1500 kgs with a full load “Year of Zayed” is made out of carbon fibre and nomex. She is equipped with the latest technology including Xtra link tracking devices that submit a position every 4 hours. Weather routing is sponsored by Storm Geo who will advise on the best possible window and routing through Ocean currents.


The “Year of Zayed” is named afer the founding father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and 2018 will mark 100 years since his birth. On land and in the sea, our fore-fathers lived and survived in this environment. They were able to do so because they recognised the need to conserve it, to take from it only what they needed to live, and to preserve it for succeeding generations.

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