The Voyage Begins
Tori Murden will depart from Louisville International Airport on Saturday, September 4
to begin her latest attempt to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. This time Tori will row
from east to west. She expects to depart from Tenerife in the Canary Islands in
mid-September and hopes to arrive in Barbados approximately three months, or
The 23-foot boat Tori is rowing this year is a rebuilt and improved version of the
American Pearl, the same boat she used in both 1997 and 1998. The American Pearl was
shipped to the Canary Islands in late August. A few of Tori's support group, known as The
American Pearls, will travel with Tori to make final adjustments to the boat before Tori
Tori embarked on a similar effort in mid-June of 1998 as she attempted to row from west to
east, from Nags Head, North Carolina to Brest, France. After 85 days alone at sea, and
after having rowed 2,653 nautical miles, Tori had to be rescued after both she and her
boat were severely battered by Hurricane
Danielle. On September 7, 1998, she was picked up by the ship Independent Spirit 950 miles
west of Brest. Although Tori did not accomplish her original goal of rowing all the way
across the ocean, she did set a world record that she still holds. She has spent more time
at sea than any other woman solo rower.
In addition to her efforts to row solo across the Atlantic, Tori participated in the
Atlantic Rowing Race in 1997 with rowing partner and high school classmate Louise Graff.
After the original start of the race, the two took a tow back to shore when Tori became
gravely ill with food poisoning. After Tori's medical condition had stabilized, she and
Louise were allowed to re-enter the race. After making a valiant and successful effort to
catch up with the other competitors, they turned back because of mechanical problems.
If Tori reaches her goal, she will be both the first American and the first woman to row
solo across an ocean.