Galway man Gavan Hennigan has begun his biggest adventure to date, a solo row across the Atlantic as part of the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge.
Yesterday evening (Wednesday ), Mr Hennigan set off from the harbour at San Sebastian de La Gomera in the Canary Islands with the Caribbean island of Antigua the target destination; effectively, a diagonal trip from northwest African islands to northeast South America.
Mr Hennigan will undertake this mammoth adventure completely solo and unsupported, bidding to be one of only a handful of people on the planet to have rowed an ocean solo.
The 5,000km crossing will be made in a specialised ocean rowing boat and the Galwegian will hope to complete the gruelling task within 60 days.
The Knocknacarra native used the one-day triathlon as a training exercise, completing a 2km swim, cycling 90km, and running a further 21km, in a bid to prepare himself.
Friend of Hennigan’s, Kevin Thornton said: “Gavan is in really good spirits and very motivated. He is in great physical and mental condition.”
The voyage is widely considered to be one of the toughest challenges on the planet, pushing those who attempt it to their limits. To this day, more people have climbed Everest, reached the North Pole or ventured into space than have successfully rowed the Atlantic. Not only that, but Gavan Hennigan plans to row it solo for which there have been even fewer crossings.
During the race, rowers are not allowed to accept any donations or repairs to their boats, and must begin their journey with enough material to complete the challenge.
Back in 1966, British paratroopers Chay Blyth and John Ridgway first rowed across the North Atlantic from Cape Cod, on the North American coastline, to Ireland.
Their voyage was a 92-day battle against hurricanes, 20m waves, and a sudden near-starvation diet.
Gavan Hennigan will also be rowing in aid of Cancer Care West, http://www.cancercarewest.ie, and Jigsaw Galway, http://archive.headstrong.ie/jigsaw/jigsaw-centres-across-ireland/galway/.