Rower facing headwinds in record bid

A SUFFOLK adventurer is making steady progress in his bid to become the first person to row solo around the world.Oliver Hicks, from Thorpeness, is more than 120 miles into his epic voyage, which will see him tackle some of the most dangerous seas on the planet.

Craig Robinson

A SUFFOLK adventurer is making steady progress in his bid to become the first person to row solo around the world.

Oliver Hicks, from Thorpeness, is more than 120 miles into his epic voyage, which will see him tackle some of the most dangerous seas on the planet.

His journey - which started at the beginning of last month from southern Tasmania, Australia - will take him along 50 degrees south latitude across the Pacific, through the dangerous Drake Passage, past Cape Horn then down into the Southern Ocean.

But the first couple of weeks have not been plain sailing for the 27-year-old, who a few days ago was approaching the southern tip of New Zealand's South Island.

Writing on Monday for his internet diary he said: “Has felt very heavy and slow the boat today - well I suppose it is, but more so than usual have checked lockers for leaks to see if we were taking on more water - didn't find any.

Most Read

“Will check under boat tomorrow to see if we have snagged anything but perhaps we're just in a contrary current.....Lots of rowing today - but v slow, about back where I was a few days ago....moderately frustrating! V pleased with my hands they have toughened up splendidly and are no problem so far. Rest of body needs to catch up with them asap....”

On Tuesday he added: “Another frustrating day at the office. Headwinds all day. Rowed about 2hrs to stop my backwards drift before I got sick of rowing just to stay in the same place so - the circles continue!

“Also weather doesn't show much improvement wind wise - we need westerlies and are getting everything but.... It is very frustrating to be hampered by headwinds so early on in the trip.”

However there have been some lighter moments to voyage, which include listening to music, reading and a visit from an albatross, affectionately referred to as Mr Albert Ross.

“No airs or graces about him,” Mr Hicks wrote. “He did a few laps of the boa.t before coming to land - remarkably graceful for such a big bird and then swam a couple of rounds of the boat giving it the odd peck to see that she was sound.”

The 15,000 mile Virgin Global Row expedition is expected to take between 18 and 22 months to complete.

Mr Hick's longboat - named the Flying Carrot - was specially made from carbon fibre in Devon and fitted out in Suffolk

The idea for the record attempt was forged during a four-month voyage from America to Britain in 2005 when he became the first person to row solo across the Atlantic and the youngest to row any ocean alone.

N To see how Mr Hicks is getting on visit: www.virginglobalrow.com.