Pretoria man conquers over half of the World’s Toughest Row

A man with a dream to conquer the Atlantic Ocean in a rowboat has already completed 2 700km in one of the world’s toughest races.

A Pretoria man has been participating in the World’s Toughest Row – Atlantic, under the name The Freedom Rower, over the past few weeks.

Peet Bothma, who matriculated in 2002 at the Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool (Affies) says: “Around 10 years ago, I heard about this crazy rowing race across the Atlantic Ocean. At that time, I was in awe of the race and could hardly believe it was even possible.

“It sounded incredible and a small little seed was planted. I incredulously hoped and dreamed that I would one day be brave enough to go on the adventure. Over the following years, I learnt about the row through the few available books and documentaries, and the dream to go do it just grew stronger and stronger, but it was still just a far-off dream for someday,” Bothma says on his website.

He has already advanced more than halfway (more than 2 700km) across the Atlantic Ocean in what is described as one of the planet’s toughest races.

Peet Bothma. Photo: Facebook/freedomrower.

He set off from the Canary Islands on December 12 and should set foot ashore at the Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua by the end of the month.

During the approximately 4 800km race, each boat must be self-sufficient and carry all the supplies they will need such as water, food, navigation and safety equipment in their rowing boats.

He takes part in the solo division and is currently third among the 11 solo rowers, and 18th out of the 38 boats taking part.

Bothma says he wanted to take on this extremely challenging adventure. He feels that he still has a significant sporting achievement within him and was looking for something where he would be tested physically and mentally in an environment where you just do not have all the control.

“The ocean humbles me but also sets me free, and I wanted to experience that in the ocean’s extremes.

“I believe that God planted this seed in me for a reason and that this journey has a greater purpose,” he says.

“What exactly that is, I do not know yet, but I am on the journey and hoping to inspire other people to break free from whatever is holding them back so that they can follow their dreams. I also hope to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged children, through the love and protection of the ocean.”

Click here for more information about his journey.

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