‘Big Blue’ arrived at Port Charles, Barbados on Friday March 4, 2011 after an Atlantic crossing that began in Agadir, Morocco on January 5. Family and friends at the port greeted an exuberant and exhausted crew of 16. The custom built catamaran became the first boat in its category to make the crossing. It is also the first time that a crew of 16 reached the finish line.
In many ways, the voyage was a throwback to primitive times before the sailing ships, before the days of Columbus and Magellan.
The entire rowing adventure was non-stop and unsupported by the outside world for an unbelievable 47 days. The crew kept in touch by satellite phone that was not always reliable, but allowed messages to be sent from supporters to the Big Blue Blog, and by satellite to the crew.
The goal was to complete the crossing in less than 35 days and set a world record, but inclement weather and strong winds added an additional 12 days. The distance traveled was 4, 432 miles at an average of 85 miles per day. The crew rowed 2 hours on and 2 hours off for most of the trip.
Former Cornwall resident and CCVS graduate Charles Wilkins(centre photo) was one of the two rowers over the age of 60. Accomplishing this incredible feat has been his goal for the past year, which was entirely dedicated to fitness and endurance training, as well as fundraising for the event.
Now that this ‘once in a lifetime’ experience is over, Wilkins has several new challenges awaiting him. One will be to participate in a video documentary of this unique crossing. The longer project, and one for which he is well seasoned, will be to write a book to share this incredible experience with the world.