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 about 100 days, later.

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 takes off.

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.