Mom: Rowing across Atlantic. Alone. Naked. See you in 3 Months. Love, Oliver

Monday December 4, 2017 | Filed under:

When I was a teen, my most challenging feat was biking eight miles to the Dairy Queen for a large (not medium!) hot fudge sundae. Not Oliver Crane. My Princeton, NJ, neighbor is days away from an incredible undertaking: rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. His “gap year” feat, taking place between high school and college, will help raise money for two worthy causes – and fulfill a family tradition of derring-do. He could become the youngest person to ever accomplish this 3,000 mile tour de force.

Click here to watch a video I shot of Oliver (Instagram: ocran3) talking about his adventure during a celebratory party at his parent’s house. A few other details:

Yes, it’s amazing. And grueling. More people have gone to space or climbed Mount Everest than rowed across the Atlantic – known as “the world’s toughest row.” Oliver – who is 19 – will row solo, unsupported, from the Canary Islands to Antigua, a journey expected to take about three months. He’ll row mostly naked to reduce chafing.

His trip is part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, a race across the ocean, consisting of solo, pair and fours boats from all over the world. Once it starts, Oliver will quickly be separated by hundreds of miles from any other humans. Could you do it?? I know with complete certainty I could not – especially at that age.

Oliver’s family is equally amazing, starting with parents Isabella and David (pictured, with Oliver). All of their children had gap year adventures: son Cason climbed all seven summits and planted a pride flag on each. Bella hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. David biked the length of Africa. You get the idea.

All of the adventures brought attention to worthy causes. Oliver’s is the fragile health and importance of the oceans, with Oceana the recipient of contributions in honor of this feat, along with HomeFront, a nonprofit that’s been fighting poverty in NJ for over 25 years by providing emergency food and shelter for homeless families, plus day care, after school programs, high school equivalency classes, job training and rent aid.

As Oliver writes on his web page, “To complete this challenge I will have to overcome numerous obstacles, including 40+ foot waves, sleep deprivation, salt sores, hunger, and sea sickness.”

“And yet,” he writes, “these challenges pale in comparison to those faced by many homeless Americans every day.”

Oliver’s remarkable journey will be in a custom-built 23-foot ocean rowing boat (see photo) outfitted with three solar panels that power a desalinator (watermaker), VHF radio and other navigational systems. It has two small, watertight cabins: one for the watermaker and one for sleeping and holing up during heavy storms.

Please learn more about Oliver and his plans by viewing the video on my Facebook page and visiting his website – and consider making a generous donation to his chosen causes. You don’t have to row across the Atlantic yourself to help make a difference!