The “IMAGINE” Project

IMAGINE was a brand new 6 man ocean rowing boat built by Rossiters in Christchurch.  The boat and international crew left Puerto Mogan in Gran Canaria on 17 December 2013 at 2206hrs, heading to Barbados. Sadly after 30 hours on the water they had complete rudder failure and had to be towed into La Gomera.  Reports and updates on this challenge below.

IMG_3063Crew (from left to right)IMG_3074

Simon Chalk – British.
Tom Fancett – British.
Paul Williams – British.
Sergey Novoselov – Russian.
Dennis Raksha – Russian.
Sergey Raksha – Russian.


Progress Report:

Simon Chalk Statement (22 December 2013):

“We started our row well onboard Imagine – covering 84Nm in the first 24hrs. After 30hrs at sea and whilst surfing a small wave, the crew heard the tearing sound of carbon fibre to the rear of the boat. It was clear that the boats rudder had parted from the boat. The main carbon structure that held the rudder to the boat had failed. It was immediately obvious that the crew did not have the required equipment onboard to make a repair at sea. We contacted Gemma at Oceanus – who in turn immediately contacted local contacts within the Canaries, in order to arrange a controlled tow. It was imperative that the crew remained safe at all times and that we attempted to recovery the boat in the process. We felt no need to bring in the Spanish Coastguard services and managed the recovery internally. The sea conditions were quite tough and although we were quickly reached by our tow vessel, we then took on a 14 hour tow back to La Gomera. The crew are safe and well although disappointed. At this time we will look at getting the boat repaired, regroup and reattempt a crossing onboard “Imagine” in the future. For this season – she will be further developed and tested in conjunction with Rossiters. We have a great crew, at no time have the crew had any disagreements with the decision process to conclude this campaign at this time. Our sincere thanks go out to our families, sponsors, those on the ground that supported us – and of course Gemma for getting us all back to land safely and swiftly.”

19th December 2013 – Update 1045am

* UPDATE: The crew are safe and well – a vessel is on its way to pick them up and tow them back to port. Where the rudder is mounted to the back of the boat, it has broken and they are unable to repair this at sea. The families have been informed.  More news to follow in due course *

17th December 2013 – And They Are Off 2206hrs

The crew of Imagine left the dock with an official leaving time of 2206 hours on 17th December 2013.  Photos below of them leaving – the crew were in good spirits, with Paul, Sergey & Sergey rowing the first two hours.  Change over at midnight with Tom Fancett celebrating his 26th birthday in memorable style for the 18th December!!!!

17th December 2013 – Imagine Leaves Tonight

The crew are enjoying the last few hours with family and friends in Dennehys Bar Marina, Puerto De Mogan (thanks Billy!) and are setting off around 2200hrs.  You can track them here

"Imagine" Last Practise Row

16th December 2013 – Slight Plan Change

“Imagine” have had a problem with one of their batteries this lunchtime, so are sourcing a new battery and will now look to leave port on Tuesday 17th December instead.

15th December 2013 – Leaving Tomorrow

The crew of Imagine are doing final preparations on the boat in readiness to leave tomorrow evening.  You will be able to follow their progress on the “Imagine” project page. They are excited to get going and start heading to Barbados…..!


9th December 2013 – Eat, Sleep, Row, Repeat

Well it seems to be out there, so we might as well let everyone know what we are doing. As soon as the weather clears, we are rowing as a crew of 6 – 3 Russians and 3 Brits, in a new Bosgraff designed – Rossiter built 6 man boat called Imagine. The aim is to chase down the Atlantic Rowing Fleet and to attempt to set a new speed record across the Atlantic. We will not leave port until it is safe to do so and when the weather is set to allow us to cross in a fast time. Then Paul Williams and Simon Chalk are returning to Gran Canaria – with a gap of about two weeks, in order to go across on a second speed campaign. This time with a great crew of 8 onboard Titan – freshly refitted and renamed the Toby Wallace. Their target is to cross the Atlantic twice and with a combined crossing time of less than 70 days. Each row will be a speed attempt. Each row will be tracked on this website. It is crucial that we have optimum conditions to make this goal achievable…… Lets do the double!!!