Nick Rosen | |

Ollie Hicks, Allelujah

With three sets of oars, two months’ worth of provisions and one seriously tricked-out rowboat, a 23-year-old British adventurer is behind schedule in his solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

Ollie Hicks pushed off from a marina dock about 20 miles south of Manhattan May 27th in a 24-foot open rowboat, hoping to become the youngest rower ever to make the 3,000-mile trip alone. His destination: Falmouth, England, an estimated 400,000 strokes away.

Hicks’ red boat is no fishermen’s dinghy. Equipped with a satellite telephone and a computer, it is a self-righting vessel with watertight cabins at the bow and the stern.

And he has packed its cargo holds with creature comforts, including a desalinator that makes seawater drinkable, an iPod music player, a small gas stove, a cache of dehydrated food and a six-pack of Yuengling beer. And of course, he figures he’ll have a chance to fish, so he brought along a pole.

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Hicks, a wiry, soft-spoken veteran of endurance tests, hopes to making the crossing — which has been done by others — in less than 62 days. He plans to row for 14 hours a day across open seas, strapped into a seat, using 91/2-foot carbon fiber oars. He has previously competed in a desert marathon, an 800-mile bicycle race and a 500-mile kayak run down the Yukon River.

Among the hazards he’ll face within the boat: blisters, hand cramps, strained muscles, saltwater boils. Then there’s the cold, the wind, the potential for 50-foot waves. And the isolation.

Hicks is not a veteran sailor. He spent much of his six-month training regimen sailing to learn navigational skills. His charted route will help him take advantage of prevailing winds and ocean currents, he said.

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You can keep tabs on his location via a Web site,

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