In Jan 2012, Clark Carter, Ben Turner and Margaret Bowling set off in a seven meter ocean row boat from Wilsons Promontory in Victoria, with the aim to row across Bass Strait and into Tasmania’s capital, Hobart.
The expedition was a training run for Ben’s solo row across the Pacific Ocean from Peru to Sydney. The Bass Strait is a notorious stretch of water, and only a couple of days into the expedition, the crew ran into some ‘interesting’ weather. With winds gusting to 50 knots and waves cresting at 30 – 40ft the crew pulled in their oars, let out the drogue and jumped in the cabin. Within minutes the drogue broke and they had to deploy another. This one lasted most of the night, until, at some stage it to broke, turning the boat beam on to the giant swells. With a load crack, a wave crashed into the side of the boat, capsizing it in a second, sending Clark, Ben and Margaret onto the roof (now floor) of the cabin. This was not unexpected and the crew were prepared for such things. The boat righted itself almost instantly and they set about assessing the situation. Everybody was mostly unharmed, except Ben who mentioned he may have broken his elbow (he’d already broken it a few years before).
After speaking with the land crew and AMSA doctors they decided to row towards the nearest island where ben could get medical attention, but Victoria Police kindly offered to come and pick them up. Eight hours later, they were aboard ‘Fearless’ with the row boat in tow.
The crew were disappointed not to make it to Hobart, but happy that everyone was safe and (relatively) unharmed. A special thanks to the crew aboard ‘Fearless’, Victoria Water Police, AMSA, Chris Martin, Ben Keitch, Tara Remington, Chloe Hill, John and Wendy Turner and the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard for their help and support during the recovery.
Check out the photos from the expedition in the Bass Strait gallery.