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Tomorrow, 12 December, a young man in a boat will slip away from the shores of La Gomera, the second-smallest of Spain’s Canary Islands. He won’t be on any ordinary journey but nor is he any ordinary man.
La Gomera was Christopher Columbus’s last stop on land before he “discovered” the brave new world of the Americas, thousands of miles across the Atlantic. That’s the same journey that the young man I referred to earlier is taking. Except, unlike Columbus, he won’t be in a sailing ship. He’ll be in a rowboat.
Isaac Giesen is a young New Zealander (and son of well-known wine company owner Theo Giesen), who has set his sights on being the first Kiwi to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
All funds raised will be split between three causes dedicated to combating depression in New Zealand and Australia – a major cause of suicides. They are Black Dog Institute, Bravehearts and Victim Support Manaaki Tāngata.
Isaac is competing in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, known as the world’s toughest row, in his 7m boat, Bonnie Lass.
The Moodie Davitt Report is very proud to be a gold sponsor of Isaac and we’ll be providing regular updates on his progress, Our logo is emblazed on the hull and cabin of Bonnie Lass.
[Click on the YouTube icon to hear Isaac Giesen talk about why he is taking on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge]
Explaining his decision to embark on such a risky venture, Isaac says: “It was in the water I found the strength to overcome the pain of losing my Aunty and two close friends to suicide within a few years of each other.
“Now it could be up to 90 days I spend at sea, alone. No sails. No engine. No-one to share the journey with. The solitude might seem overwhelming, but my discomfort will only be short lived. Because for people who suffer from depression, there is often no finish line. That’s why I’m rowing to raise money for the fight against depression.”
ABOUT THE TALISKER WHISKY ATLANTIC CHALLENGE
The idea of the Atlantic Challenge race came to Sir Chay Blyth while he was rowing the Atlantic Ocean in 1966 with John Ridgeway. It was a 92-day battle against hurricanes, 50-foot waves and near starvation.
No outside assistance is permitted throughout the race. Apart from the use of a water maker, collection of rainwater and fishing, no boat shall receive any re-supplies of food, drink or equipment during the race.