Rhodes graduate in crew to row across Indian ocean

A Rhodes University graduate is among a group of eight people entering their final phase of preparations today for a Guinness World Record attempt to row more than 8 OOOkm from Australia to Durban.

The trans-Indian Ocean expedition, described as a display of sheer bravery and a test of ultimate endurance, is said to be a world first. The crew will set out from Geraldton along Australia's west coast later this month. For former South African national oarsman Cameron Bellamy, who grew up in Cape Town and studied at Rhodes, this expedition will be the realisation of a 10-year long dream which he has actively pursued for the past three years.

"I feel very privileged to be able to accomplish my dream of rowing an ocean and do this with such an accomplished crew. Being able to literally row home makes this row extremely special to me," he said. "The seas are generally rougher and less predictable and help is, for the most part, further away. However, we will be achieving a world first, a Guinness World Record.

No one has ever rowed across the Indian Ocean, continent to continent, non-stop before." Bellamy, who describes himself on his website as a newcomer to ocean rowing and endurance adventure sport, said he was looking forward to the opportunity to learn from the best. "I am by no means discounting how hard it will be, but in truth this is my dream and I feel privileged to have this opportunity. I intend to love every second."

Bellamy attended Rhodes University in Grahamstown and represented South Africa at the U23 World Rowing Championships in 2003 and the World University Rowing Championships in 2004. The crew will be skippered by world renowned Scotland-based ocean rowing skipper Leven Brown. The Australia to Durban row is expected to take between 80 and 100 days, depending on weather conditions.

The crew will row in shifts of two on and off for the duration of the row. They will have to make water using a watermaker which relies on solar and wind power. There will be two back-up hand pumps. The crew is expected to meet today before packing up their 45ft (13.71m) purpose-built ocean rowing boat, The Scotia Explorer, with supplies.

They aim to leave Australia on May 15 and hope to reach Durban by mid to late July. The last attempt to make the crossing was by professional adventurer Ralph Tuijn of the Netherlands who narrowly escaped death when his rowing boat was crushing by a container ship last year.

The public can follow the crossing via a live GPS tracker. Closer to the departure date there will be a link to the live tracker on the Ubunye Challenge website: www.ubunyechallenge.com

By: Unathi Shologu

Article Source: DAILY DISPATCH


Source:  Daily Dispatch

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