English-Romanian rower team wants to break the world record for crossing the Black Sea
A team of four rowers has set out across the Black Sea in an attempt to break the world record for crossing it. The men left Romania on June 21, and are planning on covering the 1,200-km long route to Batumi, Georgia in just 8 days.
Pro TV spoke to them right before their departure, getting the low-down on their preparations, expectations, and hopes. According to the broadcast, all four of the rowers, one Romanian and three Englishmen have experience with dangerous seas.
One of them is Dr. Danny Longman, a university physiology lecturer and ultra-endurance athlete, who started rowing at Cambridge University. Dr. Longman has set several official Guinness World Records in the past. One in 2017, when he was part of an international team that rowed across the Arctic Ocean, setting 7 world records. And again in August 2019, when he swam the length of each of the 13 publicly-accessible lakes in the English Lake District, covering a total of 44 miles (or 71km) in 41 hours and seven minutes.
The Romanian, Alex Dumbravă, was part of the team of five Romanian rowers who currently hold the world record for the fastest expedition across the Black Sea, having managed to reach Georgia in 11 days and six hours. Now, he wants to break his own record.
Conditions at sea are rough and the rowers need to be prepared for anything. “We train all the time, we do an expedition every year, but you're never prepared enough for what you'll find at sea,” Roland Burr told Pro TV.
The boat itself is built for speed and endurance, not for comfort, and is no more than nine meters long, with a small cabin built in where rowers will take turns resting. According to the rowers, the boat is built and designed to withstand Beaufort sea state 9, waves of 7-8 meters, and wind of about 70-80km/h, with a ballasted bottom which means that if it capsizes, it will spring back into position. Owing to the lack of space, provisions are scarce: their whole food supply fits into one bag. Adding to the usual challenges is the reality of armed conflict happening close by and the presence of warships in certain areas of the sea. Besides planning to avoid such areas, the rowers told Pro TV what the expedition would look like:
“We’ll be rowing continuously, in two-hour shifts. Two of us row, while the other two rest in the cabin. Resting also includes hygiene and any administrative tasks that need to be done,” said Alex Dumbravă.
The team is raising money with this expedition which will be donated to the International Committee of the Red Cross, a worldwide independent organization that helps people affected by conflict and armed violence.
(Photo source: Alex Dumbrava Facebook page)