Pioneering explorer and record-breaking rower Riaan Manser and Soweto resident Fanafikile Lehakha are well into a mission to row across the Atlantic Ocean in 45 days. Photo: Twitter

Cape Town – South African rowing icon Riaan Manser and his Soweto-based rookie rower Fanafikile “Fana” Lehakha have now paddled more than 1 000 nautical miles in their epic rowing odyssey to cross the Atlantic Ocean from South Africa to Barbados.

It represents just over a third of the expected total distance they need to cover in their journey - unaided, with no motor, sails or support yacht for their 7m boat - in the open sea. They started their journey on January 9.

Manser said: “Something that has made me laugh is how Fana is mulling over the idea of how to explain to school kids back in South Africa what this distance (that we have covered) really is.

“Of course the kids, and people who do not travel, for that matter, will be very vague on the reality.

‘‘Fana says he really wants them to understand, to be able to have them relate exactly what mammoth task he has undertaken here.

“I tell them that this journey is like going to the mall 1 000 times and back. But not in a car - in a rowing boat.”

Manser said some of the challenges they faced included their boat’s electrical power being crippled because of a lack of sunlight.

Their laptop to back up video footage had also been affected, as was a navigation panel they use outside their boat.

Lamenting that they had experienced a tough week, he said: “We have argued, frustrated each other for many a reason.

“We had an evil weather pattern that beat us backwards. Personally, I think we could have avoided these issues altogether.

“I should have definitely triple-checked the electrical connections to all these before we set off. It would have meant we would be in Barbados way earlier.”

Manser said the more Fana and he got to spend time together and learn from each other, the more he came to realise that the tug-of-war between regrets and ambitions was universal.

Follow the pair on social media @theodysseyrow, and for live GPS tracking on their location, go to the following link: