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St Michael’s Rowing Club Duo Finish Epic Transatlantic Challenge

1st June 2022
Kevin O’Farrell (left) and Rob Collins in French Guiana following their epic 55-day ocean row from Portugal
Kevin O’Farrell (left) and Rob Collins in French Guiana following their epic 55-day ocean row from Portugal

After 55 days at sea, the St Michael’s Rowing Club duo of Kevin O’Farrell and Rob Collins completed their epic journey across the Atlantic earlier this week.

Setting off from southern Portugal in early April in a small craft as part of a four-man crew, alongside Dutch rowers Ralph Tujin and Somon van de Hoek, the Irish pair battled rough seas, technical hitches and physical injuries to arrive in French Guiana 55 days later.

Using just their own strength and the ocean currents, the crew worked in two-hour shifts, day and night, for nearly two months. They had to hunker down in a tiny cabin off the coast of Portugal when they hit a storm with sea swells the size of a house. Then, they were nearly run over by a tanker off the coast of the Canary Islands.

Hard luck hit when they realised they had to repair their boat in the Cape Verde islands as their navigation equipment broke. An unexpected challenge was to battle a four-hour onslaught from a shoal of flying fish in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Rob Collins (left) and Kevin O’Farrell at sea in their four-person ocean rowing boatRob Collins (left) and Kevin O’Farrell at sea in their four-person ocean rowing boat

But it was all worth it as on Monday (30 May), they rowed up the Kourou River to reach their final destination, the small town of Kourou in French Guiana, where they were greeted with fireworks and a few well-deserved beers.

A very warm welcome awaits the ‘Salty Pair’ of Robert and Kevin back in Dun Laoghaire, where fellow St Michael’s members will gather round a pint of choice to hear their stories and be inspired by their adventures.

Robert and Kevin rowed across the Atlantic in aid of Muscular Dystrophy Ireland - inspired by Fionn, who lives with Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy.

A voluntary organisation, Muscular Dystrophy Ireland supports kids like Fionn and their families by providing a wide range of respite and support services all year-round, advocating for their community and educating society about neuromuscular conditions and supporting researchers and clinicians to carry out quality research into neuromuscular conditions.

Donations to Robert and Kevin’s fundraising effort can still be made via iDonate HERE.

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