In my opinion extreme sports are tied to the fetish wiring in the human mind. Some people like leather, some lace and some want to be adult babies stuffed into latex nappies while their partner dresses up like a teddy bear dominatrix. These are the people in extreme sports who row across oceans. Months at sea alone in a little boat often alone, it’s a grueling endeavor. You’re fighting exhaustion, forty foot waves, the chance to be capsized and separated from your boat, a whole host of practical and psychological problems. I personally don’t get it. My particular fetish is watching people hang off mountains but that’s as boring as a down home country S&M club now so congratulations to the Artemis Investments  Ocean Racing Team led by Leven Brown. The crew of four broke a 114 year old record for rowing across the Atlantic last week.

Rowing with the skipper were Ray Carroll, Don Lennox, and Livar Nysted. They arrived in the Isles of Scilly ninteen pounds lighter and reeking 43 days, 21 hours, 26 minutes and 48 seconds after they departed New York.  The Isles of Scilly are off the coast of Cornwall and dozens of people showed up at the docks. It’s the kind of place that five or six people might show up if Mel Gibson and Lindsay Lohan were having hot monkey sex on the bar at the Bishop and Wolf.

I don’t mean to knock what these guys did. They fought giant waves, got thrown into the water a few times, had tourists take photos of them from the Queen Mary 2 and were rammed by a huge tree trunk that might have sunk them. That’s a real danger. They had to turn back last year after a submerged object like that sheared off their rudder. Earlier this summer they had to retreat to New York after the boat was damaged in a storm. There was food poisoning too. There was a Mars Bar feast at mid point that left them all with food poisoning. Leaving out the jokes about Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithful can you imagine having to deal with four guys having eaten something bad on the same small boat?

They rowed for two hours then rested for two hours only stopping when weather forced them to and that was survival mode time. This is all the more remarkable for the fact they did this strenuous rowing the last two weeks on nothing but powdered supplements having run out of food. The sea normally ran about five to seven meter swells with occasional large ten meter monsters. If someone got separated from the boat they had little chance of returning for him. “It’s always a little nerve-wracking when someone goes overboard.” reported the Skipper

We did it the hard way!

The rules for all this are confusing to me. Frank Samuelsen and George Harbo rowed the same route in 1896 in a big heavy old fashioned wooden boat. How does that match a crew of four in a high tech fiberglass hull? I expect it’s because some wealthy people have decided to test their testosterone levels. You know it gets even better. There are people who’ve spent months at sea alone rowing across oceans. I’m of half a mind to think up some new extreme sport and see if I can sell expensive equipment to them.