Boat that was rowed across the Atlantic is on display

Toby Wallace, who rowed across the Atlantic with seven others in 34 days, stands by the Titan Boat that is on display at the Dad Vail Regatta.
Toby Wallace, who rowed across the Atlantic with seven others in 34 days, stands by the Titan Boat that is on display at the Dad Vail Regatta. (ED HILLE / Staff Photographer)
Posted: May 13, 2012

The Titan Boat parked in a lot off Kelly Drive near the finish line of the Schuylkill rowing course appears to be a nice vessel, with advanced technology keeping it light to move quickly through the water and four seats equipped to make all the rowers comfortable.

But then you realize the boat held eight men who tried to set a world record for the fastest row across the Atlantic Ocean and you think: "Eight guys fit in this?"

And when one of them was 6-foot-7 Toby Wallace, who spent half of his time over 34 days below deck, you shake and scratch your head at the same time.

"It was a bit short for me when we first took it out," Wallace, 35, a native of England who now lives in Philadelphia, said Friday at the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta. "But they redesigned the three seat basically to fit me so I could get in it. When I was lying down [below deck], my head would touch one end and my feet would touch the other end."

The eight took off Feb. 26 from the Canary Islands, off the northwest coast of Africa, and arrived 34 days, 15 hours and 31 minutes later in Barbados. They missed the record by about two days and 151/2 hours.

For Simon Chalk, 39, who designed, built, and skippered the vessel, this was his sixth trans-Atlantic rowing excursion, a record. He estimates that he has "spent nearly a year of my life rowing on the ocean."

He's planning to try it again in October or January. Or maybe October and January.

"We're looking to find a good crew once again and support sponsors," Chalk said. "The best time to do this starts in October. So we'll try early, and if we don't do it, maybe we'll take another crack at it later."

Wallace, a senior manager for Aberdeen who was presented with a replica of the Liberty Bell by Mayor Nutter, said it may not be realistic for him to try it again.

"My wife is very supportive," he said, "but she's long-suffering of me doing these crazy things. Plus it's hard when you have a job to take two months off. So we'll see."

 

- Joe Juliano

 

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