Record breaking rower prepares for olympic quest

Mick Dawson celebrates concluding his record-breaking row under the Golden Gate Bridge on Bonjangles.
Mick Dawson celebrates concluding his record-breaking row under the Golden Gate Bridge on Bonjangles.

RECORD-breaking rower Mick Dawson will return to San Francisco for some last-minute inspiration – before he attempts to mark the Olympics by crossing the Atlantic.

Bostonian Mick and pal Andrew Morris will set off from the east coast of the United States in late April, planning to finish their epic adventure by rowing up the Thames to Tower Bridge.

They want to make the 2,500-mile crossing in time to arrive for the opening ceremony of London 2012 (July 27).

But the daring duo’s exploits will begin on the USA’s west coast.

The official launch of the OAR (Olympic Atlantic Row) project will be held in San Francisco, the city where 47-year-old Mick’s record-breaking feat was realised.

Back in 2009, Mick and partner Chris Martin became the first people to row the Pacific Ocean unaided.

Setting off from Choshi, Japan, their gruelling 189-day exploit concluded with Budweiser and McDonald’s under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

To mark their success, an emotional Mick wore a Boston United shirt, belonging to his father Derek, who passed away while he was at sea.

“I can’t wait to return to San Francisco,” said former Royal Marine Mick.

“It was the finest city in the world at which to end our North Pacific adventure.

“I know it will be the perfect city from which to launch the OAR.”

Returning to San Francisco will also see Mick reunited with Bojangles, the specially-designed boat which made the Japan-US crossing.

The vessel – named after the Sammy Davis Jnr song, one of Mick’s old favourite drinking tunes – has been on display at the San Francisco Maritime Museum ever since its arrival in the City by the Bay.

Following the launch, Mick and Andrew will leave for the east coast of the United States on April 23, before beginning their journey.

The pair are old friends, having successfully rowed the 3,000 miles from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua together.

The challenge is being undertaken to celebrate the Olympics arriving in England, but also to inspire young people.

Attempting to show that with the right preparation and will to succeed, anything can be achieved, the OAR project will visit schools in the US and UK.