ACROSS THE SEA: 61-year-old man to row solo from US to France

A North Carolina grandfather plans to row solo from U.S. to France. (SOURCE: WTKR)
Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 2:57 PM CDT
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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WTKR) – A North Carolina grandfather has big plans that span the north Atlantic as he plans to row from Virginia to France nonstop. He will also be going solo.

Peter Harley plans to start the 4,000-mile trek from the Lynnhaven Marina in Virginia Beach, Virginia, next week, depending on the weather.

The 61-year-old isn’t taking a standard rowboat. He said he fortunately does not get seasick and isn’t worried about being lonely at sea.

“I’m rowing a boat that should really be rowed by two people,” Harley said. “It’s just who I am. I just do it the hard way.”

The rowboat has a camping setup, complete with sleeping quarters. It also had plenty of storage for his protein shakes, energy bars and occasional pasta.

“I’ve eaten only expedition food for nine months to test it out and get used to it,” Harley said.

The boat even converts salt water into drinking water and has waste accommodations, of a sort.

Harley is originally from South Africa and now lives in North Carolina. He’s a thrill-seeker who’s no stranger to the ocean.

“No hesitations whatsoever, absolutely zero,” he said. “I know what’s coming, and I’m happy to take it on. And I’m prepared. I’m prepared mentally and physically for it.”

His daughter, Bonnie Evans, will stay in the U.S. keeping in contact with her father through satellite communication. She plans to celebrate with him in France.

“It didn’t surprise me and I was all in, ready to support him in every way shape or form,” she said. “And yeah, just really, really excited and beyond proud.”

They’ve decided to make the event a fundraiser for several charities.

Harley said none of this is about fame.

“There are a few records that will come but that’s not the motivation at all,” he said. “The motivation is the physical and mental challenge.”

Harley said he will enjoy the time alone and the possibility of being greeted by sea life along the way.

“I’m sure I’ll see a lot of dolphins, a lot of birds,” he said. “Sharks, I’ll probably see sharks.”

The trek is expected to take up to four months. It all started for Harley after he watched a competition on TV.

“I think a lot of these events do start as dreams and crazy ideas,” Harley said. “It’s now or never. Do it now or don’t do it.”

Harley’s boat will have live-tracking capabilities, so you can send a message of support to Harley on his journey or make a donation.

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