Botha’s three month challenge of rowing from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro is to raise awareness of how important a sustainable environment is. Picture: Supplied
Botha’s three month challenge of rowing from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro is to raise awareness of how important a sustainable environment is. Picture: Supplied

Solo rower Zirk Botha successfully completes three weeks at sea

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Jan 8, 2021

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Cape Town - The solo rowing journey of Zirk Botha continues to inspire many people as he has successfully accomplished three weeks so far in difficult weather and sea conditions.

Botha’s three month challenge of rowing from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro is to raise awareness of how important a sustainable environment is.

The TransAtlantic journey requires him to row completely unassisted for approximately 90-100 days covering 7 000km (3 800 nautical miles). He has completed approximately 2 000km (1 200 nautical miles) of his journey over the past three weeks.

The closest that Botha is to land is about 514 nautical miles.

Botha has had to deal with extreme weather conditions and the challenge of crossing busy shipping lanes.

He said: “Winds in excess of 30 knots and swells of 4m forced me to secure myself at some points in my watertight cabin with safety harnesses in the event of the boat rolling over. However, my boat, Ratel, has handled challenging weather conditions superbly, and even better is that I am currently a week ahead of my originally anticipated schedule.”

Botha said he can’t predict stern seas all the way, but should the current status prevail then in all likelihood, the row will be completed well ahead of the originally anticipated 100 days.

Botha is following what is known as the Great Circle Route. He said: “I first headed out of Cape Town in a north-west direction to benefit from the prevailing South Easterly wind. Now, after over 1 000nm, I am north of Lüderitz Bay in Namibia and more than 300 nautical miles offshore. I will turn westerly and hopefully will enjoy the benefit of the wind behind me as I cross the Atlantic.”

He said on the Brazilian side of the ocean, the wind is predominantly North Easterly which means he has to arrive on the coast north of Rio to have the wind behind him.

Botha will then head into Cabo Frio, where the old Rio de Janeiro yacht club is and this will be his finishing point.

Cape Argus

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