Peter Harley, 61, is expected to row from the United States to France. The full trip will be nearly 4,000 miles

Peter Harley, 61, hopes to leave next week, weather permitting, from Virginia Beach and travel to La Trinité-sur-Mer, France.

He told CNN on Thursday that he estimates the entire rowing journey will take between three and four months.

“I’m not nervous,” Harley said. “I’ve been on boats at sea in South Africa for many years so I know what’s coming and I’m not afraid of it.”

Harley said he was inspired to undertake such a trek while in his home country of South Africa a few years ago. but after moving to the United States in 2019, the goal became more achievable.

Harley will realize his idea when he launches into the Atlantic in a 24-foot boat. It’s not quite a typical rowboat and is designed to handle less than ideal conditions.
Ocean current conditions and weather will play a big part in her journey, but Harley has faith in the ship.

“If the boat were to capsize, it’s designed to right itself,” Harley said. “Bad conditions eventually pass, so I’m going to have to get things out.”

The vessel is equipped with a sleeping cabin, plenty of storage and solar panels for communication and navigation purposes. But: “The bathroom, I’m afraid, is just a bucket,” Harley said.

On board the boat is also a watermaker, which converts seawater into clean drinking water.

The solar panels will give Harley the ability to stay in constant communication with her daughter, Bonnie Evans, at home, who has helped prepare her along the way.

Evans told CNN she was more excited than nervous for her dad. “If there’s anyone I know who can do that, it’s definitely my dad.” said Evans. She described him as a meticulous person who calculated every detail of this trip.

Peter Harley and his daughter, Bonnie Evans, who says she is very proud of her father and his journey.
And the preparation for the transatlantic trip was no joke: 28 months of training, 13 of which 7 days a week.

“It’s been a very intense process and takes a tremendous amount of discipline, dedication and focus,” Harley said.

Thinking about the trek so far in advance helped Harley prepare mentally. He says he’s also not worried about the loneliness aspect of the trip, as he’s already spent a lot of time alone.

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He has also had to change his eating habits over the past eight months to eat well all the time away from a kitchen. On board, he will eat protein bars, oatmeal and even pasta.
The intensity of the event also inspired the father-daughter duo to make it a fundraiser for three charities: 5 Gyres, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and the Best Friends Animals Society.

“We wanted to address three things: planet, people and animals,” Evans said of their choices.

If Harley successfully lands in France, he will go down in history as the first to do so. Two previous attempts failed.

“I prepared as much as I could,” Harley said, “I’m as strong as I can be, I’m as fit as I can be, I’ve done everything I can, I just gotta get it done.”


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