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Rowing the Atlantic Ocean

...bringing attention to pollution in the Baltic Sea

This month two rowers from Finland hope to take delivery of their offshore-rowing boat and begin some serious training.

Rowing 24 hours a day in two-hour shifts, Markus Mustelin and Jolle Blässar hope to cross the Atlantic in forty or fifty days, covering 3000 miles, and raising €100,000 to protect the Baltic Sea in the process.

Expedition commences 2021

Their expedition begins late in 2021, and is an annual event organised and sponsored by Talisker Whiskey.  Both Markus and Jolle have plenty of ocean experience – both have circumnavigated the globe (Markus three-times). So they know the hazards they face when they set off from the Canary Isles to battle the waves.

Fifteen years ago they took part in an endurance rowing race with traditional single lake wooden boats just for fun – sparking their interest in rowing, and their annual participation in the event known as Sulkavan Suursoudut. This is a famous event in Finland which has been known to attract up to 10,000 rowers.

The Atlantic Crossing will combine our off-shore sailing background with our passion for rowing, and our project management experience; says Jolle Blässar.

Markus and Jolle

Raising awareness of the Baltic Sea

Through this campaign they hope to raise awareness of the decline of The Baltic Sea which they say is in a critical condition and considered one of the most polluted seas in the world. The most severe problems are hazardous substances; risk to marine traffic; loss of biodiversity and eutrophication – an excess of nutrients often caused by run-off chemicals such as nitrate and phosphate leading to many undesirable effects including algal bloom and oxygen depletion.

Ocean-going rowing boats

Their boat – indeed all participating boats – are built to withstand whatever the North Atlantic Ocean can throw at them. It has two cabins – one forward and one aft. The forward cabin is for sleeping, and the aft stores all Navigation and Communication equipment – including an  Automatic Identification System (worldwide vessel tracking); and an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon.

The expedition starts from the island of La Gomera, Canary Isles.

Victron is going with them

To power these systems and to provide lighting and appliance-charging the boat will be fitted with two Lithium SuperPack 100Ah batteries, charged by solar panels.

The most important piece of equipment onboard will be the watermaker. Pumping sea water under high pressure through a membrane, these devices remove salt and other impurities producing potable water on the low-pressure side. Jolle and Markus calculate they will require at least 10 litres of fresh water each per day for drinking and to reconstitute the freeze-dried food they need to provide them with 5200 kCal / person / day. Taking that much fresh water with them in a tank would add a ton to their displacement. And why would you row a ton of water across an ocean?

The watermaker has a power consumption of 110W/h and a peak demand of 200W – so having a reliable energy system on board is absolutely critical.

Previous participant riding the ocean swell

Baltic Sea Charities

Speaking about their charitable efforts Jolle says: The Baltic Sea can still be saved but will require immediate action. We have two organizations as our charity partners: John Nurminen Foundation; and the fifty-year old charity Keep the Archipelago Tidy Association.

The mission of John Nurminen Foundation is to save the Baltic Sea and its heritage for future generations. They implement concrete Baltic Sea protection measures that bring results, and ensure that the stories of the sea are passed on to future generations. Their work is guided by measurable results and impacts.

Keep the Archipelago Tidy association maintains environmentally important services, such as dry toilets, pump-out stations and waste-collection points on all the main coastal and lake areas in Finland. The aim for their environmental work is to make sustainable boating and recreation by Finnish waterways possible.

Boat delivery

After a slight delay caused by the COVID 19 outbreak they expect to take delivery of their boat soon, in Helsinki, and immediately trial it in the Baltic.

You can follow their progress during the build up to the race using the link below.

FACTS

Team: Two Rowing Finns www.tworowingfinns.fi

Athletes: Markus Mustelin & Jolle Blässar

Event: Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge 2021. https://www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com/

Race start date: 13.12.2021

Route: La Gomera to Antigua

Distance: 4800 km /3000 miles

Estimated time for the Atlantic crossing: 40 – 50 days

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