Rowing Into the Son: Four Young Men Crossing the North Atlantic

Speaker  Jordan Hanssen

Host  Amy Draves

Affiliation  Jordan Hanssen

Duration  01:01:02

Date recorded  8 October 2013

On June 10, 2006, Jordan Hanssen and four college friends stepped into a 29-foot rowboat as the only American competitors in the first North Atlantic Rowing Race, pulling across the northern ocean. From the first dreams of race planning to heaving through ocean waves, team captain Jordan Hanssen tells the story of OAR Northwest (www.oarnorthwest.com) as they head out from New York Harbor, catch the Gulf Stream current, and make the final dramatic push for the finish line off the coast of Cornwall. Hurricane-level winds, giant eddies, passing freighters, flying fish, and sharks are all elements of the journey, and the race comes to a tense head on day 17 – with another 55 days to go – as the crew realizes their food supplies are running out and they must drastically restrict their eating. In spite of this the team continued to race and won, finishing a week ahead of their competitors.

Seven years later Jordan and a new crew turned their vessel into a rowing science data gathering machine. Using solar and wind power the team powered instruments measuring, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and acidity. They also measured their sleep patterns as part of a study created by the Calgary center for sleep. From the sea they wrote, photographed, filmed and using a satellite dish sent back the information to their website where the open source material was free to students and the public… all this in addition to the grueling 24 hour a day rowing schedule.

On the 73rd day at sea, misfortune struck in the form of two steep waves and capsized the boat, turning their trip from one of science to survival. Find out how they handled it and managed a disaster into a victory.

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