The South African Zirk Botha (59) has managed to row solo in 70 days from Cape Town to the Brazilian metropolis of Rio de Janeiro, a distance of 7,200 kilometers.
Zirk Botha started his journey on December 19, 2020. He has set several world records. He is the first rower to perform the route alone and do so without a sailing vessel’s assistance.
The speed record is also in tatters. With seventy days, he does better than the South African duo Wayne Robertson and Braam Malherbe. The duo rowers completed a similar transatlantic trajectory in 2017 in 92 days.
The man arrived on Saturday night in Buzios, Brazil, north of Rio de Janeiro. After a few hours of sleep, he rowed to the sailing club of Rio de Janeiro today. A flotilla of sailing boats escorted Botha and gave him an honorary reception.
Due to the South African variant’s corona pandemic and fears spreading further, no family member could welcome the former naval officer to Rio.
During his journey, he had to face many challenges: rough seas, lack of sleep, and social isolation. He was also able to successfully stay out of the container ships and oil tankers’ shipping lanes.
“People thought I was crazy when I started preparations two years ago. Dream big, and don’t let anyone discourage you. Life is a great adventure,” said Zirk Botha.
Botha says it has had a totally overwhelming experience. He lost ten kilograms of body weight during his trip.