LONDON (REUTERS) – When 70-year-old Frank Rothwell decided to row solo across the Atlantic, he did not realise just how boring it would be spending nearly two months on the 4,800km journey.
The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, an annual race from the Canary Islands to Antigua, is not for the faint-hearted but Rothwell, an experienced sailor, took up the challenge to raise money for charity.
“First of all, rowing is really, really boring. Every stroke is the same as the last stroke. And there’s no seascape, there is nothing to pass,” said Rothwell, who lives in Oldham.
After 56 days, two hours and 41 minutes, Rothwell arrived at Antigua’s English Harbour to place fourth out of eight in his category and also become the oldest man to row solo across the Atlantic.
“I realised it wasn’t a race for me, I win by finishing,” he said.
“I’m not going to win anything, I’m not going to beat anybody and I was minded I would probably come last, which is expected of a 70-year-old man.
“But that was not the case at all… I came fourth out of eight so I was really happy that I came mid-table.”
The grandfather of three had set up a Just Giving page for Alzheimer’s Research UK, which has received £883,000 (S$1.6 million) and he expects to hit the million pounds mark by the weekend.
“That would make a difference to people’s lives,” said Rothwell, a prostate cancer survivor who trained for months on the coast of Scotland.
After meeting his wife of 50 years at the finish line, Rothwell’s next order of business was getting his hands on an ice-cold drink.
“I wanted a cold Coca-Cola, big one with loads of lemon and something tangy and sharp and cold,” he said.