Friday, June 30, 2006

And now for something completely different

Recently, I've been following the progress of the Shepherd Ocean Fours rowing race. This is really a phenomenal race -- four teams of rowers (four men each) set out from New York on June 10th, bound for Falmouth, England. Twenty days into the race, three of the teams have covered over 1,000 miles. The fourth had a mechanical failure and is safely back in port.

The enormity of this task is really daunting -- take a look at this map to get a feel for what they've accomplished and what they have left to do (the rings are 500 nautical miles each!):

I've been following the American team, OAR Northwest, pretty closely through a friend at work. As of this morning, the Americans in the James Robert Hanssen have about a 30 nautical mile lead, and are making good use of the Atlantic Ocean currents to stay ahead. They're the green line on my chart.

They, like the two British teams (Team Hesco and Yorkshire Warrior), are rowing for charity as well as for the challenge. You can show your support for the team by making a donation, half of which will go to the American Lung Association of Washington to further asthma research and promote general lung health. Why that particular charity?

Team captain, Jordan Hanssen, watched his father collapse and die from an asthma attack when he was just three years old. He later developed, but fortunately outgrew, the disease. His life of athletics, both swimming and rowing, is both an act of defiance towards this affliction and a hope to spread knowledge of how it can be controlled. It is in honor of his father's memory that we have partnered with the American Lung Association of Washington and named our boat the

James Robert Hanssen

Individual donations are an integral part of the success of OAR Northwest. Your donations will help our team raise the significant anount of money we need to purchase and outfit the boat, and get it and ourselves to England and back!

You can also show your support by sending them a (free!) text message via, number 881641426086. The messages are limited to 160 characters, but the guys say they row faster with each one they receive.

Tags: Shepherd Ocean Fours, Rowing