oarnorthwest_header

The CWF Africa to the Americas Expedition

HorizontalLine

En route from Port of Dakar to Terrou Bi Marina, Adam Kreek, Patrick Fleming and Markus Pukonen (L-R)(Credit: Erinn J Hale Photography / Canadian Wildlife Federation)

En route from Port of Dakar to Terrou Bi Marina, Adam Kreek, Patrick Fleming and Markus Pukonen (L-R)(Credit: Erinn J Hale Photography / Canadian Wildlife Federation)

Read the report of the capsize, rescue, and boat recovery (.pdf – 10mb)

The CWF Africa to the Americas Expedition left Dakar, Senegal on January 23rd 2013 to row unassisted across the Atlantic Ocean on a daring 3,569 nautical mile journey to Miami, USA. Using human power to propel the boat, and solar and wind power to charge its instruments, the crew conducted research on the ocean and themselves, sharing it in real-time to viewers world wide.

The crew of four men (2 Americans + 2 Canadians) rowed the open ocean self-supported, 24 hours per day in 1-, 2- and 4-hour shifts. Along the way, OAR Northwest Education delivered FREE STEM-based curriculum to classrooms worldwide, collected a robust data set about the ocean and themselves for future research on the state of ocean health, and inspired kids to pursue their own adventures to share.

On the morning of April 6, 2013, the rowboat was hit by two irregular box-shaped waves traveling out of the usual swell pattern. While the crew was in shift change, exchanging rowers between the cabin and on-deck, water inundated the open hatch and capsized the boat, its self-righting capabilities compromised by the rapidly filling main cabin. Read the report of the capsize, rescue, and boat recovery (.pdf – 10mb).

Thanks to United States Coast Guard personnel, emergency personal locator beacons from ACR Artex, and our own survival and emergency training procedures, all four rowers were found safe aboard the life raft, attached alongside the capsized rowboat.

After the capsize, Wade Luzny, CEO of the Canadian Wildlife Federation, made the bold decision to offer their services to launch a recovery operation to find the needle in the haystack, and bring home the valuable film and science data. The result of which are two PhD thesis reports, a full-hour on Dateline NBC, and a feature-length documentary that is now in production.

HorizontalLine

Dakar to Miami

Dakar to Miami

The crew of the ocean rowboat James Robert Hanssen:

Explore the 73-day route on our live interactive map

This nearly 3659 nm Atlantic-crossing and Guinness Record attempt (first to row from mainland Africa to mainland USA) left no room for mistakes, and much less for sleeping quarters on their 29-foot rowboat.

This ocean-crossing demanded that the rowing team demonstrate expertise in meteorology, navigation, nutrition, oceanography, technology, shipboard and oceanic emergencies, expedition planning, sports medicine, interpersonal communication, leadership and, of course, perseverance.