Who Wants To Row Across The Ocean?

American Oarsmen Set Two World Records in Transatlantic Rowing Challenge

Texas Navy Admirals Michael Matson, David Alviar, and Brian Krauskopf race 2-man boat through perilous waves to victory in 49 Days, 14 Hours, 4 Minutes, 20 Seconds. (photo by Ben Duffy)

Despite a tight fit in their 2-man boat, Texas Navy Admirals Michael Matson, David Alviar and Brian Krauskopf overcame high winds, storms, sleep deprivation and extreme fatigue to become the fastest, and the first, three-man crew to ever row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean.  They became the first Texans to row an ocean, and the only Admirals of the Texas Navy to navigate the High Seas since 1846.

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, famously known as the World’s Toughest Row, started on time December 12 thanks to good good weather in the Spanish port of San Sebastian de La Gomera in the Canary Islands.  The three men sat low in their 2-man boat, Anne, but embarked without issue by avoiding dangerous waves approaching the coast.  

Anne, affectionately named after fallen Houston Firefighter Anne McCormick Sullivan, showed up for race day with a broken circuit board in her auto tiller/helm - a rudder that controls the direction of the boat and a tiller arm that drives it - which relies on an internal compass to adjust course when waves or wind push the vessel off course.  The team didn’t flinch, and managed to manually steer Anne all 3,000 miles to Antigua.

(photo by Ben Duffy)

High winds slowed the Oarsmen’s pace at times, but the trio made strategic efforts between gusts to improve their position.  The addition of an extra man in the small boat enabled the crew to gain roughly 10 additional miles per day over competing teams, who raced single- to four-person vessels.  This advantage, combined with plenty of grit and determination, allowed the crew to climb from mid pack at the start to 4th place overall in a field of twelve teams. To be continued…

“The SS Rowing Trousers were amazing, and all I wore for over 80% of the crossing. I had two pairs and a pair of polyester boxers that I would cycle through to allow quick drying after bathing in ocean water (whether intentional or not!).“ - Mike Matson, Skipper, The American Oarsmen


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