2 men to row in small boat across the Atlantic from New York City to Ireland

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Thursday, June 9, 2022
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Can you imagine rowing across the Atlantic Ocean from New York City to Ireland? Two men are about to do that starting on Friday. Josh Einiger has the Eyewitness News exclusive story.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Can you imagine rowing across the Atlantic Ocean from New York City to Ireland? Two men are about to do that starting on Friday.

It's a journey that will last nearly two months and span more than 3,000 miles in the ocean ... in a row boat.

Inside the boat will be two big men, who vow that they will conquer the Atlantic Ocean.

"I think I'm the most normal person I know," Damian Brown said.

Brown played professional rugby for 15 years, but now he's an extreme adventurer. He's preparing with his friend, Fergus Farrell, to row across the ocean from the Hudson River, to their hometown Galway, Ireland.

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"We're going for the world record which is 55 days 13 hours," Farrell said.

In other words, just under eight weeks on the open ocean, in a 19-and-a-half-foot boat.

They'll take turns, two hours rowing, two hours napping in a tiny cabin, all the while forcing down 10,000 calories a day in freeze-dried food, stored among all kinds of gear to keep them safe.

"The biggest risk in ocean rowing is separation from the boat, because if I fall over, if Gussie falls over and we're not tied to the boat, that's it, that's it," Brown said. "There's no 'I'll row back and get him,' that just doesn't happen."

The tiny boat was hand built in England and it's loaded down with technology, like solar panels to help power the various pieces of equipment on the boat.

One of them is a desalination machine, which turns ocean water into drinkable water. In fact, everything is specially designed to keep Brown and Farrell alive.

"You only have one life, you realize you may as well make the most of it and do what you can," Brown said.

But for Farrell - it's actually his second chance.

Less than four years ago, a spinal cord injury left him paralyzed. Doctors said he'd never walk again, but he proved them wrong.

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"For me it's about showing my kids that no matter what happens to you in life, that if you pick yourself up if you don't give up on yourself, nothing can stop you from doing what you want to do," Farrell said.

Farrell and Brown have been training for this journey for two years.

They are two friends who have already beaten the odds, but still have so much to prove.

Farrell and Brown will have a satellite uplink and plan to document their trip in real time. You can follow their journey via their website, called Project Empower.

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