THE North Atlantic is not a kind ocean. So unpredictably wild and unforgiving are its seas that after a pair of Norwegians rowed across in 1896, their record stood for another 114 years, writes Ryan Bradely.
Jump to July 2010—a two-man boat filled with four bearded oarsmen leaves New York and hits England nearly 12 days faster than the Norwegians managed.
Leading the crew of Ray Carroll, Don Lennox and Livar Nysted was Borders oarsman Leven Brown.
Their hands were cracked and swollen and their rears so sore that sitting became an exquisite test of pain management. They stood as often as possible.
In all ways, they were exhausted and didn’t sleep more than two hours at a time in more than six weeks.
“Our boat was 23ft long by 5ft wide,” said Brown. “It’s for two men, but there were four of us. In effect what we were doing was putting a big engine in a small car. There’s no privacy and it’s wet and awful. This is where the true character of a man enters the room.
“We rowed for two hours and rested for two hours 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until we hit something, preferably land.
“The high point of the whole thing was definitely coming into the Isles of Scilly. Two thousand people came out to see us in boats and helicopters. At that point, of course, we were kind of wondering if anyone noticed what we were doing, so it was a very nice surprise – astounding, really, knowing that we’d beaten the record that we’d gone out to beat.”
Now, because of his endeavours, Brown has been named among 10 candidates from across the globe vying for the National Geographic People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year award.
For the last six years the publication has cast a wide net to find its adventurers of the year, each selected for his or her extraordinary achievement in exploration, conservation, and adventure sports.
To vote for Leven, go to the following web page and tick the box – http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/adventurers-of-the-year/leven-brown-2010/
You can vote every day until January 15. The People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year will be announced in February.