Norwegian Stein Hoff, who was rowing from New York to England to recreate the journey of the first transatlantic row in 1896, has been rescued.

10 August

After 84 days at sea, 70-year-old rower Stein Hoff has been rescued.

The solo rower was trying to recreate the 1896 transatlantic journey of two Norwegian Americans, George Harbo and Gabriel Samuelsen.

They are credited as being the first people to row across an ocean.

Hoff left New York on 15 May and was heading to the Isle of Scilly.

However, he was hit by a big storm.

As conditions worsened, he set off his EPIRB on 6 August and was eventually rescued by the crew of the bulk carrier, Ludolf Oldendorff.

Hoff, who is described as “bumped up and bruised”, is now on his way to Canada.

He said he owed his life to “the British Coastguard who responded quickly to my EPIRB”.

Hoff added that getting on board the Ludolf Oldendorff was a “difficult operation”.

“I was unable to help manoeuvre myself, all my four oars were broken, the rudder was broken and seas were very big and rough, the wind strong,” he wrote.

He said the crew of Ludolf Oldendorff managed to get a line to him on their third attempt.

“I just held it (the rope) while trying to enter the also wildly swinging ladder, one second high up and then next second into the water or banging the rigging of my boat,” wrote Hoff.

“I tried to grab (the ladder) without managing a transfer, my hands were quickly weakened, my survival suit had only socks, no shoes and I shouted to just be pulled up,” he continued.

“This was done successfully, but with a rope just going over the side with no special appliance above, (it) was slow and difficult.”

“I bumped into the water and into the ship side, was once completely submerged with my own boat heaving up and down just outside me and quite a scary situation, but the men above managed their job, I received a few bruises, but was brought up and on deck and was suddenly an extremely happy man!” added Hoff.

The 70-year-old named his 24-foot rowboat the Fox II, after Harbo and Samuelsen’s boat, the Fox.


16 May

Dubbed “The Unbelievable Voyage”, Norwegian rower, Stein Hoff started his solo transatlantic  journey on 15 May.

He left New York from North Cove Marina in Brookfield Place. He was escorted through New York Harbor by the U.S. Coast Guard and a New York Police Department marine division boat.

Hoff plans to row more than 3,000nm, recreating the 1896 journey of two Norwegian Americans, George Harbo and Gabriel Samuelsen. They were the first people to row across an ocean.

The pair left Battery Park, Manhattan, on 6 June 1896, arriving on the Isles of Scilly 55 days and 13 hours later, having covered 3,250nm. They continued to row their boat, The Fox, to Le Havre, France.

Hoff has named his 24-foot row boat The Fox II after Harbo and Samuelsen’s boat. The vessel will have some advantages over its predecessor, such as GPS, a satellite phone, VHF radio and several safety features.

Stein Hoff on Fox II prepares for his voyage

Fox II is prepared for the voyage. Credit Stein Hoff – Atlantic Row 2016/Facebook


His journey is being sponsored by the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! website. Robert Ripley wrote about Harbo and Samuelsen’s feat in his first Ripley’s Believe It or Not! book.

Speaking to the media ahead of his start, Hoff said: “The big thing is that the first row ever across the ocean was by two Norwegian-Americans, George Harbo and Gabriel Samuelsen in 1896. This is 126 (sic, it’s 120 years – ed) years since they did it and no Norwegians have done it since so I’d love to be the first and if I could do it solo – that’d be even better.”

Stein Hoff, 70, who has set out on transatlantic journey

Stein Hoff has made sure he has plenty of his wife’s fruitcake for the journey. Credit Axelrod Gunnarson/Twitter.


The rower’s wife,  Diana Hoff said she is concerned about her husband’s endeavour.

“Obviously I have a slight anxiety because there’s a slight risk in it,” she told PIX11 News. “It’s a rough route to cross the Atlantic from here to England but he’s a very experienced seaman.”

Hoff, who has ensured he has plenty of supplies of his wife’s prized fruitcake to sustain him during the journey, said he is ready.

“The biggest challenge is probably the mental challenge but I know I got the mentality because I’ve done it before and physically I’m more prepared than I can be,” he concluded.

Henley Rowing Club

Henley Rowing Club captain banned

David Lister has been banned from coaching for 18 months following an investigation into bullying and favouritism in crew selection…