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Solo Rower Atlantic Journey Nearly Ends in Disaster

Thanks to ABSAR, Rothwell was able to complete the race, in a time of 64 days, 7 days, 53 minutes.

FREE USE: FEBRUARY 15th 2024: BRITISH SOLO FRANK ROTHWELL ARRIVED INTO ENGLISH HARBOUR THIS AFTERNOON FRANK ROTHWELL COMPLETING THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST ROW – ATLANTIC 2023 AND SETTING A NEW WORLD RECORD FOR THE OLDEST PERSON TO CROSS ANY OCEAN. Frank Rothwell has completed the 3,000-mile rowing race From San Sebastián de la Gomera, in 64 days, 7 hours and 53 minutes, the 31st boat to cross the finish line. 13:32:00 Saint Johns time Credit: World’s Toughest Row

Solo rower Frank Rothwell’s incredible journey from La Gomera to Antigua in the World’s Toughest Row, spanned 3,000 miles across the vast Atlantic Ocean but it nearly ended in disaster just 25 miles shy of his destination.

Exhausted from the relentless physical and mental demands of his voyage, Rothwell succumbed to sleep for a crucial 10-hour period, only to awaken to a harrowing reality – he had drifted off course towards Green Island, veering dangerously off his intended path.

The treacherous currents and unpredictable winds of the Atlantic Ocean had pushed him north and threatened to thwart his monumental achievement. In the face of this perilous situation, it was the swift action of Antigua and Barbuda Search and Rescue (ABSAR) that ultimately saved Rothwell from having to be disgracefully towed ashore.

Armed with expert knowledge of ocean currents and wind patterns, the ABSAR team sprang into action to navigate Rothwell’s vessel back on track towards the finish line in Antigua. Their expertise and swift response were instrumental in averting what could have been a tragic end to Rothwell’s epic solo voyage.

The incident highlights the formidable challenges faced by solo adventurers undertaking feats of endurance across the world’s oceans. Despite meticulous planning and preparation, unforeseen circumstances can quickly escalate into life-threatening situations, underscoring the importance of robust safety measures and emergency response protocols.

Rothwell’s experience serves as a poignant reminder of the inherent risks associated with solo ocean rowing, where isolation and vulnerability are constant companions. In the vast expanse of the open sea, even the most experienced sailors are at the mercy of nature’s whims, with no margin for error or complacency.

“We were pleased to support Frank in his final approach to Antigua. The currents would have carried him on north….  the last time we had an independent rower in that position, they were swept north of the island and ended up in St Bart’s,” said Richard Fear, one of ABSAR’s directors.

Thanks to ABSAR, Rothwell was able to complete the race, in a time of 64 days, 7 days, 53 minutes.

As he crossed the finish line in Nelson’s Dockyard, buoyed by the cheers of supporters and the embrace of loved ones, Frank Rothwell set a new world record as the oldest person, at 73, to row across any ocean solo. He said, “it’s not just the world’s toughest row, it’s the World’s Toughest anything!”

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