On Saturday, 37-year-old Cincinnati teacher Bryce Carlson not only became the first U.S. citizen to row across the Atlantic Ocean, he also set a new record for the fastest solo unsupported west-east row across the North Atlantic ocean, reports The Telegraph.
His journey, starting from St. John’s in Newfoundland and ending at the port of St. Mary’s in the Scilly Isles, off the coast of south-west England, took 38 days, six hours, and 49 minutes.
The previous world record was set in 2016 by Canadian Laval St. Germain. His solo west-east crossing took 53 days, eight hours, and 26 minutes. However, his route was just slightly longer, kicking off from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and ending in Brest, France.
Carlson’s row across approximately 2,300 nautical miles through harrowing storms and several capsizes left him feeling “a little wobbly” as he clamored to shore among excited onlookers.
He later spoke with Reuters as he ate his first real meal since embarking on the journey — cod wrapped in prosciutto.
“I think the effort of the last month and a half has to some extent numbed me a little bit. So I think it’s going to sink in in waves,” he said.
Carlson’s 20-foot boat, named Lucille, was equipped with technology designed to help him navigate the unpredictable waters and keep course while also staying on top of changing weather patterns.
The trip was less than smooth-sailing and he reported some of the obstacles he faced during the days he spent at sea.
“The boat capsized over a dozen times. The first one was the most terrifying. I had inadvertently left an air vent in the boat open and so as the boat went upside down water started pouring in. So you’re in this really stormy environment, boat goes upside down, I wake up on the ceiling.”
He also had to deal with corroding equipment and unstable connections after water entered the electrical panel. The scariest part was having to row through Hurricane Chris.
However, when the weather wasn’t giving him trouble, he had time to rest and even read, with Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea having been an appropriate choice to accompany his adventure.
The science teacher, who has a history of endurance feats including ultramarathons, is excited and proud of his accomplishment and plans on taking a break from extreme adventures for the time being.
“Getting through, just the relief of finding enough whatever or getting lucky enough. That’s an elating moment. Facing down some massive uncertainty, with a pretty high fear factor, and coming out the other side. That’s pretty fabulous,” cites The Telegraph.