|Mick Jones LHS 2nd row with Killaloe Coast Guard Unit.|
Mike Jones and Peter Williams, both from Cork, reached Port St. Charles, Barbados late on Wednesday March 10th having completed a 5000km row across the Atlantic Ocean.
The duo, as part of an international crew of 6, set out from Agadir, Morocco on 12th January. The row took 57 days, 20 hours. The voyage, which started from the Port de Plaisance Marina in Agadir was an attempt to row the Atlantic from East to West on the traditional trade wind route. The voyage was the first to use Agadir as a start port for an ocean row and was only the second ever ocean rowing voyage to start from a Moroccan port.
The international crew consisted of 5 men and 1 woman and was skippered by Matt Craughwell (UK) and also included Mylène Paquette (Canada), Pedro Cunha (Sweden) and James Kenworthy (England). The crew’s boat ‘Sara G’ was a specially designed ocean rowing boat that has already been rowed from New Zealand to Australia in 2007. The boat has three rowing positions on the deck thus catering for a crew of 6 - 3 rowing while 3 rest. The shift pattern was set at a gruelling 2 hours on/2 hours off regime meaning each crew member rowed for 12 hours a day. The boat contained a complete inventory of modern safety, communication and navigation equipment. Peter Williams describes the boat as “a fast, slick ocean rowing boat with all the equipment of a modern yacht. The only difference between our boat and a yacht is that we didn't have a sail or engine to help us along – just our strength and determination to reach Barbados”.
The Irish duo became the 7th and 8th Irishmen to achieve the feat and they are the first from Cork to row across any ocean.Cobh native Mike Jones a keen outdoor enthusiast and adventurer applied for the crew even though he had never rowed before. “I'd had the idea in mind for a few years but I figured I'd have a year or two to learn how to row, however the last September the opportunity came up and it seemed like the right time” Mike who works as operations manager for the University of Limerick Activity Centre and is an experienced sailor and member of the Irish Coast Guard said “I was very fortunate in my line of work to have the backing from my employers the University of Limerick Sport Department and to have access to the renowned sporting facilities of the University including the new boat house which hosts Irelands only indoor rowing tank.
Peter Williams 2nd in command on the boat said “Mike was selected on the basis of his seamanship skills and his determination to complete the crossing”. Jones who’s chosen charities are Milford Care Centre in Limerick and Marymount Hospice in Cork updated his website http://www.atlantic5000.com/ with stories and podcasts from the Ocean regularly from the boat.
Upon arrival, Peter summed up his feelings "I have been working towards this goal for 2 years and I am over the moon at our successful crossing". Mike Jones added " I am delighted to have completed this challenge and I have to say I enjoyed almost every moment of it, there were so many highs and of course some lows but it was an amazing experience and something I am delighted to have achieved"
In the coming weeks the President of The University of Limerick, Professor Don Barry is hosting a reception in the University White House to honour Mike for this great achievement.