April 21, 2018
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Four rowers plan to circle Vancouver Island — for starters

Alan Berner | MCT
Alan Berner | MCT
Four extreme rowers are preparing for a nonstop circumnavigation of Vancouver Island in this 29-foot boat. Jordan Hanssen (left to right), Adam Kreek, Greg Spooner and Richard Tarbill get ready for flip tests in Puget Sound.
By Alan Berner, The Seattle Times (MCT)

They’re young, fit, determined — and maybe a little crazy.

They’re four guys in a boat, a 29-foot, oar-powered vessel they plan to row around Vancouver Island nonstop for 14 days next April.

To do so would break the current 15-day record for the 700-mile circumnavigation of the island.

But that’s only a prelude to an Africa-to-South America row in late 2012.

“We’re four guys in a giant bathtub,” said Adam Kreek, of Victoria, British Columbia, who has a gold medal in rowing from the Beijing Summer Olympics.

Greg Spooner of Bellingham, Wash., is a physical therapist who, with teammate and travel writer Jordan Hanssen of Seattle, set a record rowing from New York to England five years ago.

Richard Tarbill of Seattle is a Boeing flight-test engineer who rowed for the University of Washington.

On these trips, their daily routine is row, eat, sleep, row, eat … “That’s pretty much it,” said Spooner.

Two men at a time row, while the others hunker down in the stern.

To fight boredom they sing, play word games, joke and do a live video feed of their challenge.

There’s eclectic music on the speakers, from rock to classical to sea shanties.

Their dehydrated food is enlivened with water from a solar-powered desalinator.

This trip will have a few simple “luxury” items: a bucket with a toilet seat, a mandolin played by Kreek, a couple of books, fishing gear and a satellite phone to talk to family back home.
“We’re like a band,” Spooner said. “When they make great music they stick together.”

Read more about it at oarnorthwest.com.


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