SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) In a couple of months, a group of men from Utah are going to get in a boat and row across the Atlantic Ocean. Yes. The Atlantic Ocean – 3000 miles of rowing as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. The reason? To help raise awareness of ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease and raise money for ALS research. Tonight in a special report – we meet team ROW4ALS.
“Using this weekend on the Great Salt Lake to wrap up some mandatory training items. Dial in some systems and make some notes on things we want to prepare for our big trip.” And a big trip it will be. Rowing in a boat – from the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa to Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean. Three-thousand miles over the waves, winds and the wicked weather of the Atlantic Ocean. And one of the rowers – Alan Alderman – a Utah man – who has been living with ALS for 17 years. “As long as I’m around, I’m going to keep living and I’m going to doing crazy things like this.” We caught up with Alan and a a few other team members during a practice session on the calm waters of the Great Salt Lake “We’ve been out here for 48 hours – we rowed from the Marina to the South End – essentially Promontory – round and back down again.”
That’s nothing to scoff at, but it’s nothing like what they will face in the open sea. And it will happen on a twenty-eight foot, carbon fiber, four-hundred pound row boat. The boat is equipped with everything they will need to row, sleep, eat and drink for an estimated 45 straight days. Team Captain Tim Ryan says “Probably the most important system we have is a water desalination that is housed in the bow of the boat and that will make water enough water for the team drinking and to drinking and cleaning needs each team member is going to drink a minimum of four liters of water per day. So we will be making that as we go along.”
Then there are the solar panels to power electronics and the navigation systems and three satellite phones to communicate.
Row4ALS started as an idea to participate in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge as a fun challenge and to raise some money for ALS research. However, the team says this event became something much more when they knew Alan would be in the boat with them. “The event quickly went to the next level when he said yes he would help with fund raising component, but he also wanted to be on the rowing team. And row across the Atlantic with us. That was a complete game changer as we developed the team – It’s just brought the entire experience to a higher level.” And the man with ALS – rowing alongside his teammates – has two goal – finish the race and send a message. “And I am going to do all I can to raise awareness.”
By the way – the team has a mascot… WILSON – the volleyball and reference to the movie Castaway.
News4Utah is teaming up with ROW4ALS – Meteorolgist Alana Brophy is going to be sending them weather and wave updates during their journey.
And we will track their progress and bring you – updates from the team once they get started on December 12th.
To learn more about Team Row4ALS and to donate to help – click the link: https://www.row4als.org and to learn more about the race click here. https://www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com
Some video courtesy of: Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge