GEORGETOWN, Guyana - After 70 days adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, up to 10 hours a day spent rowing and the rest of the time alone with her thoughts and endless water, Katie Spotz faced her greatest challenge at the last moment of her record-breaking journey.
As the 22-year-old Mentor native pulled her specially designed solo rowboat up to the pier in Georgetown, Guyana, about 2,817 miles from her starting point in Dakar, Senegal, she had to do something entirely new. She had to climb a ladder.
Seventy days without using her legs for anything other than rowing movements, and suddenly, Spotz wondered if this might be the first in more than two months that she would fail.
"It was a bit nerve-wracking," Spotz said via phone Sunday night.
She successfully navigated the ladder, hugged her father and brother who were waiting for her, gobbled up fresh watermelon and finally reveled in her accomplishment: Spotz became become the youngest person and first American to row across the Atlantic Ocean, mainland to mainland. She began her journey Jan. 3 and reached land at about 12:20 p.m. Cleveland time Sunday, completing the row faster than the 90 days she anticipated the voyage might take.
That quickened pace came despite opting two weeks ago to add 400 miles to her journey to land in Georgetown, Guyana. She made the decision to bypass her original ending point in Cayenne, French Guiana, because she wanted to reach land unassisted and avoid rougher seas. Continue reading here.