During Botha’s row from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro, only solar panels and solar-charged batteries are being used as a source of electricity for his boat. Pictur: Supplied
During Botha’s row from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro, only solar panels and solar-charged batteries are being used as a source of electricity for his boat. Pictur: Supplied

Solo rower reaches halfway mark on epic journey to Rio

By Sukaina Ishmail Time of article published Jan 26, 2021

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Cape Town - Solo rower Zirk Botha has reached the halfway mark of his journey across the Atlantic Ocean.

During Botha’s row from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro, only solar panels and solar-charged batteries are being used as a source of electricity for his boat.

The renewable energy maintains the boat's water-maker (desalinator), auto-pilot, safety equipment, radio and satellite communications equipment.

“During my entire row I have to be 100% self-sustaining. This provides a perfect showcase to support the message that 100% renewable energy is the solution, ” he said.

Botha said arriving at the halfway point of his journey was a momentous occasion which was amplified by the fact that he was two weeks ahead of schedule.

“I initially anticipated the trip would take 90 days, but if conditions remain favourable I may well reach Rio before that. I still have another 1 900 nautical miles, or 3 500 kilometres, to go so I won’t be slacking off the pace,” he said.

Once Botha reached the halfway mark, he began to travel with trade winds behind him as he crossed the Atlantic to reach the Brazilian coast. He will then turn south towards Rio de Janeiro.

A member of vessel-tracking app FleetMon, Schalk van Bosch, who is compiling weekly reports of Botha’s movements, said: “It is very favourable for Zirk to be ahead of schedule, not only due to physical challenges and the fact that the weather could set him back but mainly for his mental health.”

He said being alone on the ocean, isolated from the world was not for everyone and the fact that Botha was ahead of schedule meant the distance covered would keep him positive.

“Zirk, being self-sustained throughout the row, is a perfect example to show that it doesn't matter where you are, you can still be self-sustained.”

Cape Argus

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