67-year-old Islander Simon making good progress in historic solo Atlantic row
IF AT first you don’t succeed, try and try again, says a 67-year-old man from the Isle of Wight who is on a mission to become the second person to row across the Atlantic Ocean solo.
Simon Howes, a retired stockbroker who moved to the Island in 2017, aimed to cross the Atlantic solo as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in 2021 after acquiring a 25ft monohull rowing boat during lockdown.
Before the race, the then 66-year-old told the County Press he was attempting to become one of the oldest men in history to row across an ocean in a solo rowing boat unassisted.
Only one man has ever rowed the route solo, a distance of over 4,900 km/3,000 miles, which is further than the distance between the Isle of Wight and the North Pole.
Unfortunately, Simon’s boat, the aptly named Atlantic Rower, retired from the race, and he was unable to complete his challenge.
Ready for his second attempt at tackling 40-foot waves and water over five miles deep in places, Simon set off from Puerto Rico in Gran Canaria, near the west coast of Africa, for a journey expected to take 70 days.
Today (March 7), after 50 days at sea, he is just over 70 per cent of the way across the ocean and is expected to arrive at the eastern Caribbean island nation of St Lucia on March 27.
This is Simon’s final attempt to row across the Atlantic Ocean unassisted. Before leaving, he said: “I don’t expect this is going to be a doddle, but given my age, this will probably be the final chance for me to row the Atlantic Ocean solo.
“I am self-funding my row and have decided to continue to support a local charity, the IW Red Squirrel Trust.
“I love red squirrels, rowing the Atlantic Ocean solo in a 25-foot boat always seemed like a good way to help the IW Red Squirrel Trust raise the money they need to create a sanctuary for them.”
The IW Red Squirrel Trust is a small charity focused on the conservation of the UK’s indigenous red squirrels; here on the Island and beyond.
So far, Simon has raised a staggering £70,500 for the charity, and you can donate by visiting his JustGiving page HERE.