Wednesday 20 November 2019

Naked rower sets sights on world record

Sarah Stack

AN ambitious rower plans to set a new world record by becoming the youngest male to cross the Indian Ocean on his own.

But Kildare man Keith Whelan will be completely naked when he tackles the 6,000km crossing from Western Australia to Mauritius.

The 30-year-old will row 12 hours every day -- two hours on and two hours off -- for up to 120 days, completing 1.8 million gruelling oar strokes in searing heat, 50ft ocean swells, hurricane force winds and raging storms.

However, Mr Whelan, who will also attempt to become the first Irish person to row the ocean solo, said there was logic behind his decision only to protect himself from the elements with sun block and by sitting on a sheepskin rug.

"When you're at sea rowing for three-and-a-half to four months the salt gets encrusted in your clothes, and you can't wash them," he said.

"Eventually your clothes will feel like you're wearing sandpaper and you will begin to chafe. This prevents salt sores."

With his 23ft rowing boat, Ocean, already en route to the port city of Geraldton, the keen sportsman will fly over in three weeks to begin his challenge.

The event management consultant has been preparing for his Indian Ocean challenge for the past 18 months. "I had never even rowed a boat this time two years ago, but this challenge is something I've always wanted to do," he said.

"More people have walked on the moon than have rowed across the Indian Ocean. I'm hoping to get the spotlight of achievement back on Ireland with this world record."


Mr Whelan is also raising funds for the Keep a Child Alive charity, which gives life-saving treatment and support to children and families affected by HIV/Aids in Africa and India.

Donations can be made through www.thenaked

Just three men and one woman have successfully completed the crossing solo.

To set a world record he must row unaided by any other vessel and without being in touch with anyone. An emergency radio beacon, personal locating beacon and a life raft will be on board for emergencies.

Irish Independent

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