Three men from the Faroe Islands and one from New Zealand, Jákup Jacobsen, Jógvan Clementsen, Niclas Olsen and Isaac Giesen, have travelled 7800 kilometres in a rowboat across the Atlantic from Portugal to Cuba. They are thought to be the first ever to have completed such a feat.
The expedition, which took 74 days to complete, started in Portugal on 10 February and finished in Cuba on 12 May. Each crewmember took approximately 800,000 strokes of the oars.
Faroe Islander Jákup Jacobsen, the crew’s captain, works as a building designer in Copenhagen. The idea to row from Europe to Cuba began over a few beers with friends.
“As far as I know, nobody has attempted and managed this before,” says Jákup Jacobsen about the rowing expedition, carried out in a 40-foot rowing boat.
Jákup has previously rowed with friends from Scotland to the Faroe Islands. The driving force for that trip was a thirst for adventure, and the same applied to this trip across the Atlantic Ocean.
However, this trip also had another purpose.
The rowers brought with them a greeting from 12 members of the Danish Parliament, including Foreign Affairs Minister, Anders Samuelsen, of “friendship and understanding between people.” Jákup and the other crewmembers passed the message of friendship on to the Cuban Parliament.
Additionally, the four ocean-riders hoped to collect money for “good purposes,” says 54-year old Jákup Jacobsen. The plans include the funding of well drilling for clean water in Somalia.
Originally, the adventurers planned to finish in Havana, but wind and current conditions forced them to change their route. They ended up in Baracoa, in the province of Guantanamo in eastern Cuba. They were met by large crowds of enthusiastic locals upon their arrival.
“The area was hit hard by a hurricane last year, but the people were so friendly. One family nearly adopted us, despite the fact that they did not have means to do so,” says Jákup with a smile.
In addition to the physical exertions (the men took shifts of two hours rowing and two hours of rest), the diet on the open sea included frozen, dried food, water from a desalination plant, chocolate and energy bars.
“We were exhausted when we arrived at in Cuba. I could barely recognise myself because my weight had decreased from 95 kilos to 82 kilos. Not a bad way to diet!” the captain adds with a grin.
For more information or to donate, visit Row for Water.
Originally published on Faroeislands.fo
Words: Levi Hanssen