A cool Wave takes on the North Atlantic
Wave Vidmar to attempt row from Cape Cod to Europe again this summer
AUGUSTA, GA - In addition to the Masters, Augusta may soon be known as the home of world-class professional explorer Wave Vidmar, who recently relocated to the Augusta area. Known internationally, Vidmar was the first American to trek solo to the North Pole. He's now working on his next big adventure - a solo and unsupported row across the mighty North Atlantic Ocean.
Vidmar is busy preparing and building his custom ocean row boat in Hammond's Ferry, North Augusta, in a storefront across from Manuel's Bread Café. Vidmar will launch this summer, rowing from Cape Cod, Mass., towards England; the 3,300 mile row will take between two and five months.
Rowing the North Atlantic is a challenge in itself and, when completed, Vidmar will become the first American to accomplish this journey. With a strong educational component and a community outreach program, he's also filming a "Survivorman"-like miniseries for a popular cable channel.
In the meantime, Vidmar's headquarters has become a flurry of activity. His shop includes a learning center and a variety of ways for people and businesses to participate. The public is encouraged to visit and learn more about this exciting expedition.
"This is more like a NASA mission than simply one guy rowing across the ocean," Vidmar explains. In addition, he has been making the rounds, giving educational talks and presentations detailing his exploits to the North Pole, as well as his impending expedition.
Follow Vidmar's journey by visiting oceanrowsolo.com, or visit him in person at his boatshop/headquarters in Hammond's Ferry. And, of course, watch for updates in the Metro Spirit. (Reprinted with their permission.)
See the story when he left Chatham two years ago here.
The first to row from Cape Cod was 42 years ago this June
By Walter Brook
John Ridgeway and Chay Blyth became media stars on the Lower Cape in May and June of 1966 when they trained here before their rather primitive attempt at crossing 3,500 miles of angry ocean.
When they left Nauset Inlet in Orleans (not Chatham as most others) many of the townsmen and women waded out in waist-deep water to shake their hands.
The photos on right were taken by this reporter when he worked at The Cape Codder. That's Ridgeway behind Blyth in both photos.
"The Coast Guard had predicted a 95 percent chance of our committing suicide," John Ridgeway explained later, "and a lot of people wanted to be the last to shake our hands. Once you say you're going to do something, there's millions of people wanting to see you die" he added as they shot through the rip tide at the entrance of Nauset Inlet, Orleans for the first successful crossing in the 20th. century.
It took the two of them two weeks in a far different boat, the "English Rose III", to reach the Gulf Stream making only 11 miles a day, but after a hurricane and being resupplied by a passing freighter, they reached Europe.
The photo on right shows Captain Ridgeway wading out to the "English Rose II" in Nauset Inlet in June 1966 accompanied by a much younger and thinner Walter Brooks in sunglasses.
See the "English Rose II" story on the Ocean Rowering Society web site here.
Read Chronicle story about the last trans-Atlantic rowers to leave Chatham in June of 2001 here.