Ocean Signal-Backed Carbon Zerow Becomes First Carbon Neutral Team to Row the Atlantic

Carbon Zerow, sponsored by Ocean Signal, celebrate after finishing the 2017/18 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
Photo Credit: Ted Martin

A ground-breaking Atlantic rowing team sponsored by Ocean Signal as Electrical Safety Equipment Partner is celebrating an historic success after completing the 2017/18 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

In addition to facing all the daunting trials and tribulations expected when navigating 3000 miles across the ocean in a 9-metre boat, Carbon Zerow has also become the first carbon neutral team to row the Atlantic subject to verification by The Carbon Trust.

With a time of 45 days, 13 hours and 01 minutes, the British-American Carbon Zerow team of UK-based Kyle Smith and James Lamb, plus Brian Kerr and Philip Van Benthem, who live in Washington DC, finished 15th place overall and second in their class.

They pledged to be carbon neutral for the challenge, meaning that they were committed to ensuring their project will result in no net increase in the global emission of Green House Gases (GHG) with the aim of setting a precedent for future carbon neutral expeditions and inspiring people to make sustainable lifestyle choices.

The rowers faced true adversity from the start after losing some of the most essential pieces of equipment in the first four days of the expedition. They had to overcame watermaker breakages, satellite phone issues, battery, auto helm and centreboard breakages to complete their task. They lost their freshwater maker almost immediately after setting off and had to spend hours each day hand-pumping fresh water. The crew also had to steer by hand in ferocious weather after one of their autohelms failed. Their batteries struggled to charge, their main satellite phone broke, and their two centreboards, which provide stability in the rough seas, were broken off by the force of the ocean.

In an update during the race, Van Benthem wrote: “This is certainly one of the most challenging things I have ever undertaken. Every mile I row, I think of the friends, family and sponsors who supported me. I strive to achieve this lofty goal of rowing the ocean, not just for me, but for them too.”

The team also provided regular three-line poems for their followers effectively conveying their mood, such as:

“Today was quite hard.
The seas were heavy and slow.
So we pulled harder.”

“The rain drove in sheets
Lightning flashed in the distance
Tired eyes watched on.”

Ocean Signal supplied the team with four rescueME PLB1 Personal Locator Beacons, a SafeSea E100G EPIRB and a SafeSea V100 VHF handheld radio.

Ocean Signal’s rescueME PLB1 is the world’s smallest personal locator beacon and is specifically designed to be small and light enough to carry or attach to clothing for instant access to emergency services at the press of a button. The Ocean Signal SafeSea EPIRB will be attached to the boat and also communicates a survivor’s location to the rescue authorities. It has the longest quoted operational battery life in the industry with enough capacity to operate the EPIRB continuously, typically for four whole days (96 hours). The rugged and fully waterproof SafeSeaV100 VHF features ergonomic design, durable laser etched keypad, high contrast backlit LCD and backlit keys and is supplied with all the 21 international simplex channels required. A highly efficient transmitter helps to maximise the battery life.

For more information on Carbon Zerow, go to their website at www.caronzerow.org, or follow them on InstagramFacebook and Twitter: @carbonzerow