The George Geary's last Voyage

The last row sounds like a sad occasion but I would say grand finale might be nearer the point, for me and for the boat. For me its to show life has not passed me by.

The boat which was built in my front garden 22 years ago is another matter. Considering it is made largely from plywood and has stood under a tarpaulin for most its life and yet still be ocean ready is remarkable. The secret of construction lies in what holds the ply together, tape and epoxy resin. Fortunately a good friend of mine Brett Mason was an expert in this field and between the two of us the Atlantic row boat the George Geary named after my famous England cricketer grandfather, was built.

The boat was designed by Rowsol and Morrison for the first ever Atlantic rowing race organized by Chay Blyth in 1997, with thirty, two handed boats taking part, drawing contestants came from all over the world.

The attraction for me was to be part of the first ever Atlantic Rowing Challenge. The boats were all to be identical, each contestant having to purchase the kit and either make it themselves or employ a boat builder to do the job for them which most of the contestants chose to do. Me being a carpenter and my already mentioned friend Brett Mason a fiber glass expert I reasoned we could make an excellent job between us.

Thinking the kit included all the items necessary I was disappointed to discover that apart from 28 sheets of plywood and a set of plans nothing else was provided, when I complained to Chay Blyth his reply was that all I was paying for was the plans!!!

With work and other problems we had to ship the George Geary whilst only two thirds completed, meanwhile my rowing partner Kieth Mason Moore had to remain in England with his work. Fortunately some friends of mine rallied around and traveled out to Tenerife to help with the job, the George Geary finally being completed with twelve hours to spare before the start!!!

One other problem I did not envisage was the cost of a water maker, which was beyond my finances at the time. After some arguments with Chay Blyth I was allowed to start without one. Unfortunately to compensate I had to carry all the water I needed for the crossing some 110 gallons, this meant the George Geary was heavily loaded and low in the water which in turn led to sea water entering the boat through scuppers meant to let water out!!! No wonder all the other contestants chose to stump up for a water maker.

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The Last Challenge - The Source to The Sea - The Khaggavisanna

Toby Wallace Tragedy - The Puffin Transatlantic Row - Contents