Four Puget Sound oarsmen rowed their 29-foot boat James Robert Hanssen to victory, defeating three British competitors in a 2,820-nm ocean-rowing race that began in New York on June 10. James Robert Hanssen and its crew traversed the North Atlantic, finishing in Falmouth, U.K., on August 18 after more than 68 days. Although the Americans failed to break the 60.7-day record of the Dutch team in Vopak Victory set in 2005, when they crossed the finish line they became the first Americans to ever complete a North Atlantic row and now hold the U.S. record. After crossing the finish line the team continued to the Port Pendennis Marina, Falmouth, Cornwall, without assistance to make them the first to row unassisted from the U.S. mainland to the U.K. mainland.
Woodvale Events Ltd., Devon, U.K. (www.woodvale-events.com), the race organizer, conducts open-ocean races across the globe with routes crossing the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
The O.A.R. Northwest team from Puget Sound is made up of team captain Jordan Hanssen, Greg Spooner, Brad Vickers and Dylan LeValley. Apart from the challenge of open-ocean rowing the team’s mission has been to honor the memory of Hanssen’s father, for whom the boat was named. James Robert Hanssen died from an asthma attack when Jordan Hanssen was just three years old. By partnering with the American Lung Association of Washington the younger Hanssen hopes to spread knowledge of the disease and how it can be controlled.