Flemish brothers to row across the Atlantic

Bernard and Damien Van Durme, two brothers from Ghent (East Flanders), have high hopes of crossing the Atlantic in a rowing boat.  They intend to cover the 5,000 kilometres in fifty days. 

At present the two brothers are putting the finishing touches to their preparations and are off to the UK for their final pre-Atlantic trip.  The Van Durmes will leave from Blankenberge.

“We’ll need three days to get to the UK.  This is our last try-out.  We’ve been dreaming about this for ages.  When we heard there was a competition we didn’t hesitate” says Bernard.

The boat they will use on the Atlantic is sturdier than a conventional rowing boat that is lighter to increase speed. Ocean-going rowing boats are broader to cope with weather conditions.

Bernard: “It could be a dangerous trip.  If need be, we can shelter in the cabin at the stern, where we sleep.”

The trip to the UK could be dangerous too:

“If a storm is on the way and we’re among the first teams, we won’t give up.  Still, we won’t endanger our lives.”

The Van Durmes have been training hard. Bernard: “We need enough muscle to avoid injury, but mental strength is important too. It’s not easy to be confined in such a small space for so long and we are training to avoid conflict too. It’s important to express your frustration and not coop it up.”