Monster waves, high winds, sleep deprivation, rogue killer whales, boat-sinking marlins, and salt sores, among other hazards of the open seas, didn’t stop British Army Corporal Jack Jarvis from achieving his dream. He trained tirelessly for months to complete a record-breaking solo transatlantic charity row.
On March 24, after a perilous 111-day journey at sea that spanned 4,600 nautical miles, while rowing for some 15 hours a day, Cpl. Jarvis became the first person to complete an unsupported solo row across the Atlantic from mainland Europe to mainland United States.
His odyssey, which began December 3, 2021, departing from Lagos, Portugal, took him past the Canary Islands, off the coast of western Africa, and the Dominican Republic to finish on the shore of Riviera Beach, some 120 kilometers north of Miami.
“Relief, joy, a bit sad that it’s over… I’m feeling all those things; it’s an emotional roller-coaster,” said the British soldier as family, friends, military peers, and the media welcomed him on U.S. soil.
Despite his grueling adventure, Cpl. Jarvis, 28, who serves with the Royal School of Military Engineering, was in high spirits as he reached dry land, waving the Union Jack and smiling through an overgrown beard.
He completed the row he had set himself to accomplish in a bid to raise money — more than $72,500 at the time of his arrival — for the U.K. charity Brainstrust, which supports patients suffering from brain tumors and their families. The cause is especially close to Cpl. Jarvis’ heart, whose grandfather, Budgie, passed away in November 2007 from a brain tumor.
Cpl. Jarvis, who joined the Army at 16 and served with 3 Commando Brigade, took a career break from the military to attempt his record crossing. While others have rowed across the Atlantic before, no one has done so unsupported from mainland Europe to mainland United States.
Here are some facts from Cpl. Jarvis’ journey:
- He rowed for an average of 16 hours each day; rested, recovered, refueled for four hours; and slept for the remaining four.
- The row was completely solo, so all supplies were loaded before he set off.
- Food consisted of freeze-dried meals and nutritional bars.
- There was no toilet onboard, so Cpl. Jarvis had to use a bucket.