Way back in December we told you about Katie Spotz, the 22-year old American woman who was planning to row solo from Dakar, Senegal in western Africa to the east coast of South America. This past Sunday, Katie arrived in Georgetown, Guiana, completing her journey, while becoming the youngest person to ever row solo across an ocean in the process.
The expedition covered more than 2817 miles of open ocean, requiring 70 days, 5 hours, and 22 minutes to complete. Reportedly, Katie could have shaved an additional eight days off of her time had she allowed a boat to tow her into shore as she neared her destination. While on approach to Guiana, strong winds and ocean currents conspired against her to make the final leg of the journey that much more challenging, but rather than take the tow, she elected to row an additional 400 miles northwest to Georgetown, where milder conditions allowed her to finish the trip under her own power.
While Katie did hope to set the new record for the youngest to row an ocean, and become the first American to row solo from one continent to the next, she actually had even loftier goals in mind when she set out. The entire expedition was used to raise funds for the Blue Planet Run Foundation, an organization dedicated to funding clean drinking water projects around the globe. For her efforts, Spotz raised over $70,000 for the foundation, money that will now go to improving the lives of others around the globe.
The 19-foot long, specially designed, rowboat that was used in the Atlantic crossing weathered 20-foot waves and occasional storms, but for the most part performed admirably. Fitted with solar cells to charge her gear and a desalination system to provide clean drinking water, the boat was Katie’s floating home for the past 2+ months. Aside from a breakdown in the original steering system, and a GPS device catching on fire, there were few technical setbacks to the journey.
Congratulations to Katie on a job well done. The rest of us would have, you know, taken a plane, but your way of crossing the Atlantic works too.