Injury thwarts Bass Strait row


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Ben Turner has vowed to re-attempt his fund-raising mission to row across the Pacific after his capsize on January 31.

Injury thwarts Bass Strait row
Injury thwarts Bass Strait row
A rogue wave has scuppered Ben Turner’s plans to row across Bass Strait, the resulting capsize injuring the 27-year-old Melbourne-based adventurer and bringing his George Bass Expedition, also a fund-raising exercise in aid of cystic fibrosis, to a premature end.

Turner, together with teammates Margaret Bowling, 32, and Clack Carter, 27, capsized on January 31, after setting out on their arduous mission from Wilson’s Promontory, Vic, several days earlier. Their 7m row boat immediately righted itself, but Turner broke his elbow during the roll.

The trio had intended to row to Hobart, the run serving as a major sea trial for Turner’s Pacific Quest venture, which will see him attempt to row solo, unassisted and non-stop across the Pacific Ocean later this year — a 17,000km epic journey from Peru to Australia.

In that run, Turner hoped to reach a fund-raising target of $1m for cystic fibrosis, a gene disorder, while writing himself into the record books — no-one has completed such a voyage before. Aiding him in his quest are numerous sponsors, including Nautek Marine (which fitted out the boat), Dick Smith Foods, Regal Marine (which supplied a Dunbier trailer) and Club Marine, among others.

Turner and his team were well-equipped for the task at hand. Turner had been preparing for the run for two years, and Bowling already holds a Guinness World Record for being the only woman to row across an ocean; Carter is a veteran of several long-distance kayaking and polar expeditions.

After the capsize the George Bass Expedition team sought the guidance of AMSA (the Australian Maritime Safety Authority) and Victoria Water Police, and decided to halt the attempt and return to land. A 16-hour recovery ensued and the trio’s boat was towed by the police rescue boat Fearless back to the Victorian mainland.

Despite the setback, Turner has vowed to push on with his Pacific Quest venture, and with his cystic fibrosis fund-raising. In a recent post on his blog www.georgebassexpedition.com, Turner said he was anything but discouraged. "For the record, this hasn’t swayed me from rowing the Pacific this year for cystic fibrosis — still have to find that cure!" he wrote.

 


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