If all goes according to plan, 22-year-old Cleveland, Ohio, native Katie Spotz will be the youngest person to row the Atlantic and the first American to row from Africa to South America. An endurance athlete with a long list of accomplishments, Spotz has run marathons, cycled across the U.S. and is the first person to swim all 325 miles of the Allegheny River.
Through her rowing efforts, Spotz hopes to raise awareness and funds for Blue Planet Run Foundation, a California-based group that finances clean drinking water projects around the world. Her fund-raising goal is $30,000. To fund her voyage, Spotz is selling corporate sponsorships.
Her boat, Liv, was designed by ocean rowboat designer Phil Morrison and built by Aquidneck Custom in Bristol, R.I. Launched in 2007, it was originally built for ocean rower Paul Ridley who successfully used it to cross the Atlantic in March 2009, Liv is constructed of Airex Foam, Nano Shell impregnated experimental epoxy, and unidirectional S-Glass.
Spotz’ journey will take her from Dakar, Senegal, on Africa’s west coast to South America. She is hoping to be aided by trade currents pushing her westward and make landfall at Cayenne, French Guiana; but if she determines that the currents are too strong there she will divert north to Georgetown, Guyana, the next nearest port. The entire voyage is expected to take between 70 and 100 days. She set off on Jan. 3 and her progress can be tracked on her Web site, www.rowforwater.com.