This is getting real. Chris Bertish is about to become the first person to stand-up paddle across the Atlantic Ocean. An incredible feat. One that has been anything but easy. He should reach Antigua in the Carribean Sea sometime this week as he closes in on the 150-nautical-mile mark.
Bertish, trying to keep it together last week.
Around the first of March, Bertish broached his craft in heavy seas and had to fight like hell to right his large, custom-made SUP that allows him to sleep in the hull. “The end of last week I reached top speeds in super intense conditions, while broaching badly and getting flattened twice, once so badly I surfed down a 4-meter peak and buried the entire bow of the ImpiFish completely while I was holding on to my paddle with one hand and the side of the ImpiFish with the other as spray came right over (me). I got flung over the one side, holding on the rail, getting dragged along in the water and bashed up against the craft, scraped and bruised, as she slowed, I managed to pull myself back on board, just in time to see my water bottle and suncream bottle floating away. In 25-30 knots, there is no turning around and retrieving it.. That’s just never going to happen..”
Crossing the Atlantic is monumental, and only a few have had the courage and fortitude to make it happen (Frenchman Nicolas Jarossay’s SUP attempt of the Atlantic was derailed after he capsized in the first week and couldn’t recover). Here are a few notable trips we dug up in our research that used only human power:
Alexander Doba:Doba, a Polish kayaker, has crossed the Atlantic twice in a super-modified kayak, first from Senegal to Brazil which took him 99 days and the second, from Portugal to Florida which required 167 days, 47 of which he had no contact with the outside world.
Gérard d’Aboville: In 1980, d’Aboville became the first man to row solo across the Atlantic when he completed the mission from Cape Cod, Mass. to Brittany, France.
Victoria Murden McClure: Murden McClure was the first American and first woman to make the crossing when she rowed east to west from the Canary Islands to Guadeloupe, another French province in the Carribean.
Alain Bombard: Bombard sailed a small Zodiac from France to Barbados in 1952 and survived on fish he caught using a hand-made harpoon. He had to be hospitlized after the 4,000 km trip and published a book on his voyage, Naufragé Volontaire, in 1953.
Maud Fontenoy:Fontenoy was the first woman to accomplish the trans-Atlantic crossing from West to East, rowing from Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, a French province near Newfoundland, to Spain in 2005. Fontenoy is a badass, having also completed a Pacific crossing.