March 14, 2018 1:20 pm
Updated: March 14, 2018 1:50 pm

Port Hope man completes solo row across Atlantic Ocean in support of Community Living Ontario

Colin Sanders of Port Hope spent nearly three months on the Atlantic Ocean, rowing by himself from the Canary Islands to Antigua to help Community Living Ontario, a group that assists people with intellectual disabilities.

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A Port Hope man’s treacherous three-month solo journey across the Atlantic Ocean has raised thousands of dollars to support people with intellectual disabilities.

Colin Sanders’s nearly 4,000 kilometre solo row wrapped up on March 2 as he was greeted by ship’s horns when he rowed into English Harbour in the Caribbean island of Antigua — 83 days earlier (Dec. 10) he had left in his craft from Puerto de Morgan in the Canary Islands.

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“I wanted something that was outside my comfort zone,” Sanders said on Tuesday in Port Hope.

“I think the ocean row was definitely that because I had no experience whatsoever.”

His “A Million Possibilites: Solo Ocean Row 2017” launched after two years of training. On average, he rowed 12 hours a day and endured the wrath of Mother Nature.

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But even after capsizing once in 25-foot waves, enduring equipment challenges and battling food poisoning, Sanders says the solitude was the most grueling.

“I think the toughest thing for me at sea was just the time out there,” said the 64 year old. “It was long time to be alone.”

The bouts of isolation were broken with memorable moments aboard Socks II, a 21-foot row boat not much bigger than a canoe.

“A couple times I had a very large swordfish come and circle the boat, looking at trying to get at the fish hiding under the boat,” he said. “And there was zero light pollution, almost like there were LEDS in the stars.”

His journey was chronicled online and helped raise more than $145,000 for Community Living Ontario — a group which supports people with intellectual disabilities. Among them is his adult son Jeff, who is supported by the branch in Cobourg.

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“More people have been to space than have rowed across the Atlantic Ocean by themselves,” said Ron Laroche, Community Living Ontario’s director of communications, marketing and fund development.

“Colin’s adventure illustrates that we can all achieve great things with adequate preparation, the proper support and sheer determination.”

Sanders can add his name to a short list of 30 others who have completed the solo trans-Atlantic row.

But would he do it again?

“Not a chance,” he laughed.

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