MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An attempt to row a boat more than 3,500 miles from Dakar, Senegal to Miami was scuttled off the coast of Puerto Rico on Saturday.
The Canadian Wildlife Federation’s “Africa to the Americas Expedition” left January 23rd from Dakar, Senegal to row unassisted across the Atlantic Ocean 3569 nautical miles to South Florida. Four men, two from the U.S. and two from Canada, rowed to provide propulsion while solar and wind power to charge its instruments.
Early Saturday, 73 days into the journey, the men aboard their “James Robert Hanssen” row boat sent out a distress signal to the Coast Guard after it capsized in rough seas. The signal was from a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) attached to a life jacket was activated approximately 400 miles north of Puerto Rico.
The Coast Guard sent out a C-130 airplane which was able to make radio contact with the crew in a life raft. The men were picked up by a commercial vessel, The Heijan, which dropped them off in San Juan.
“They are uninjured, shaken, but excited to get back to land this evening to reunite with family and friends, and share the challenges and great successes from the 73 days at sea prior to the capsize,” wrote Greg Spooner, with OAR Northwest (Ocean Adventure Rowing and Education) – Mission Control in San Juan, Puerto Rico in a statement on the group’s website.
If they would have made it, the team would have set a Guinness World Record for an unassisted row across the Atlantic Ocean.
The trip was made possible by Ocean Adventure Rowing and Education based in Seattle, Washington.