James Ketchell and Ashley Wilson – plan to set out from Perth, Australia next week with the intention of rowing to Mauritius in just 85 days, covering approximately 3600 miles (5793 km) in the process.
When they do set off on this ocean crossing it will be their second attempt. A few days back they launched their rowboat but experienced technical difficulties with their navigation system and had to be towed back to shore just one day into their speed attempt. That issue has apparently been resolved now, and they hope to return to the water and restart sometime next week, although no specific date for the relaunch has been given just yet.
For Ketchell, this will be his second go at rowing an ocean. He successfully crossed the Atlantic back in 2010, and has a successful summit of Everest in 2011 on his resume as well. In 2013 he also made an unsupported round-the-world cycling journey, covering more than 18,000 miles (28,968 km) along the way.
Wilson, on the other hand, is not quite as an experienced adventurer. He does, however, suffer from epilepsy and is hoping to use this row as a platform to help spread better understanding of the affliction, and inspire others with the same disability to chase their dreams and do great things.
This journey isn't just about the speed record of course. James and Ashely are hoping to raise £100,000 ($156,000) that will be spread amongst three different charities. Those charities include Young Epilepsy, an organization that supports children with the conditions, the Scout Association, which is an outdoor group for kids, and the Elifar Foundation – a nonprofit dedicated to helping people with severe learning disabilities. All worthy causes for sure.
The current record for an Indian Ocean crossing is 85 days, 2 hours, and 5 minutes. Kettle and Wilson will take shifts at the oars for 24 hours per day while out on the water in the hopes of besting that time. Along the way, they'll face unpredictable weather, potentially large storms, and swells that could exceed 4 meters. They are of course hoping for calm conditions to aid them on the crossing, but as always with an ocean rowing journey, their fate is in the hands of nature.
You can follow their progress at the expedition's official website.