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‘Bittersweet’ start to Rowing Marine’s epic trans-Atlantic voyage

Lee Spencer Farewell 07-01-19 (Photo John )

Lee Spencer, The Rowing Marine, will today row out from Gibraltar marking the start of his epic unsupported solo row 3,500 miles across the Atlantic Ocean.

Mr Spencer has been waiting for this weather window for several weeks, having had to postpone his planned departure twice last month due to adverse meteorological conditions.

He hopes to smash the able-bodied record for a solo Atlantic crossing, rowing 3,500 miles to Venezuela in under 96 days.

In fact, Mr Spencer aims to make landfall in less than 70 days and is carrying only 90 days’ worth of food on his specially-designed ocean rowing boat called Hope.

But today’s departure from Gibraltar is not exactly what he had planned.

Weather and tidal conditions make it impossible to row the length of the Strait of Gibraltar in time to catch the weather window in the Atlantic.

That means the Rock departure will be symbolic. Once out in the bay, he will turn right toward La Linea instead of left out to sea.

His boat will then be loaded onto a trailer and transported overland to Portimao, in Portugal, where Mr Spencer hopes to start the voyage proper on Wednesday.

“It’s bittersweet,” Mr Spencer said.

“I am glad to be getting it on after over a year of having to postpone it twice. But I am disappointed it is not from Gibraltar.”

“I am starting the journey here but I would like to row through the Strait. Because, every time I talk to people they always tell me about the two guys that made it and I know it is possible, I’d like to prove it so it feels like unfinished business.”

“But, I have got to get out, I have got to take this window because I do not know when another one will come up.”

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