The Race

The Facts around the Race Race
A challenge that will take you more than 3000 Miles west from San Sebastian in La Gomera, Canary Islands, Spain (28oN 18oW) to Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua & Barbuda (17oN 61oW). The annual race begins in early December, with up to 30 teams participating from around the world. The race structure brings together an environment where teams from across the globe gather in the race village San Sebastian in La Gomera, Canary Islands. The atmosphere is electric as people help each other prepare for the challenge of the mighty Atlantic Ocean. All with the same objective – to take on the unique experience of crossing an ocean in a rowing boat.

The Year 1896 - Norwegians, Frank Samuelson and George Harbo rowed the Atlantic

The New York Herald’s sensational tale ran Sunday, March 21, 1897.

It began with a plan for fame and fortune by rowing across the Atlantic Ocean.

While two Atlantic Highland fishermen succeeded with the latter, the fame and fortune eluded them.

According to the lore that surrounds the 1896 journey of George Harbo and Frank Samuelsen, two men of Norwegian decent, is they answered a challenge by the National Police Gazette.

The newspaper offered a $10,000 prize to anyone who could row across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Le Havre, France. A feat that had not been done before.

One account said the men were bored with their lives as clam diggers and accepted the challenge.

Harbo and Samuelsen sunk their savings into a clinker built, 18-foot double-ended Sea Bright skiff built by William A. Seamen of then Branchport, now Long Branch. It was made of South Jersey pine and white oak.

They called the skiff Fox, after Richard Kyle Fox, publisher of the National Police Gazette.

They left from the Battery in New York at 5 a.m., June 6, 1896 for a voyage of over 3,200 nautical miles. One that would give marine experts of the world at their day something to talk about.

In maritime circles at the time their accomplishment was regarded as the most remarkable event in the way of ocean navigation that ever transpired, according to an account from the National Police Gazette.

“They had some heavy arms, those fellas,” said Charlie Ryan, 87 of Oceanport a member of the Long Branch Ice Boat and Yacht Club.

The Long Branch Ice Boat and Yacht Club is part-keeper of the story of Harbo and Samuelson. If you want a look at the skiff the two rowed across the Atlantic, a replica sits under a gazebo on their property.