South African Rower Smashes Two World Records in Epic Indian Ocean Rowing Crossing

The Seychelles finish in sight
The Seychelles finish in sight

(the south African rower is Cameron Bellamy – son of Keith and Janita Bellamy – both well know Cape yachties)

A seven-person rowing crew has today broken two world records for the fastest-ever crossing of the Indian Ocean in a rowing boat. The Rossiter’s Avalon also achieved the longest rowing record having arrived in the Seychelles at 14:58 GMT (18:58 local time) on August 7.

The rowers set out from Geraldton, Australia on June 11 and have covered over 4,200 miles to the Seychelles in just 57 days despite knockdowns in massive seas and the loss of crucial equipment, a collision with a whale, and the evacuation of a crewman in a dramatic mid-ocean rescue.

The crew aboard the Rossiter’s Avalon, an Ocean Row Events vessel, completed the longest distance ever rowed by a team, as well as claiming the first ever oar-powered voyage from Geraldton to the Seychelles.

The international crew hail from Britain, South Africa, Australia and Iceland and have been rowing 24 hours a day in two hourly shifts. Skippered by world-renowned rower Leven Brown, the team of seven have been completely unsupported throughout the journey.

Discussing the expedition after 57 days at sea, Skipper Leven Brown and Director of Ocean Row Events commented: “It’s been one of the most remarkable voyages and I am very proud. I Am looking forward to having a cold beer!”

Beyond collecting world records, the seven rowers have been motivated by the need to raise money and awareness of charities close to their hearts.  The charities chosen include the Ubunye Foundation  and Vimba (supported by Cameron Bellamy) which support the development of rural communities in Zimbabwe and South Africa respectively, Save the Elephants to help in their on-going battle against the ivory trade, Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia, the Fiann Paul Foundation, Hafal (mental health).

South African member on the expedition Cameron Bellamy said:

“It has been an amazing journey and I can’t begin to describe the sense of achievement as well as the  immense pride I have in my crew mates. The row was extremely hard and challenging, but lots of fun at the same time. I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me and my two chosen charities during the trip. I am really looking forward to heading back to Cape Town and relaxing for a couple of weeks.”

The team faced enormous challenges on their odyssey including having to evacuate a crew member after an injury, three capsizes in gigantic seas in the tail end of a hurricane and a collision with what was thought to be a blue whale. The boat’s Automated Information System (AIS) aerial was knocked off, four oars were broken and her auto-helm was destroyed, depriving the team of a rower on each shift as steering had to be done manually.

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