Pete Beatty (12)

British roofer to row alone from Portimão to French Guyana

Pete Beatty aims to be oldest man to ever row this route

A 60-year-old British roofer is preparing to embark on an epic challenge to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean from Portimão to the French Guyana.

Pete Beatty, 60, is no stranger to adventure, having swum the British Channel six times and walked from Cap Gris-Nez in France to Gibraltar. Now his sights are set on becoming the oldest man to ever row from Portimão to the French Guyana.

“I’ve been preparing for this for about three years, but I’ve been thinking about since I was 28, and the idea has never gone away,” says Pete. “I’ve been asking my wife since then and she’s kept saying “no, no and no”. Then when I got to 57, she gave in and said ‘you might as well’.”

Pete, who despite his love for adventure is not a professional athlete and actually runs his own roofing company called Beatty Roofing in Bishop’s Stortford, UK, is also doing the challenge for charity, hoping to raise at least £100,000 for two causes.

Pete Beatty

The plan is to sell his fully-equipped rowing boat at the end of the challenge, with a “lion’s share” of the proceeds going to Tough Enough to Care, which supports men affected by mental health issues, and the remainder to Prostate Cancer UK, which seeks to raise awareness about prostate cancer.

“When it comes to mental health, men tend to keep their emotions in more. They just keep going. That’s the idea behind ‘Tough Enough to Care’, to show that it doesn’t matter how big or tough you are, you can still talk about these issues,” Pete told us.

An online fundraiser has also been set up where anyone can make a donation.

Pete was initially planning to depart Portimão on Sunday, but wind conditions led him to delay the start date to Wednesday, December 14 (after the Resident went to press).

He chose Portimão because the town had already been used as a starting point for similar rowing challenges and due to its favourable winds. It was also chosen because it seemed like the “nicest place to leave from”, although he only just learned, after the recent passing of his father, that his great-grandmother was actually Portuguese, making the choice of Portimão even more meaningful.

Pete Beatty

The journey is expected to last about 100 days, with Pete planning to row between eight and 12 hours a day. His 7m-long and 1.5m-wide boat is equipped with a desalinator which will allow him to turn seawater into drinking water; solar panels which will power his navigation equipment, lights and radio; and two satellite phones which he can use to call anywhere in the world. He also has a BGAN terminal, allowing him to connect to the internet, and an Echomax, which will make his boat visible from up to 20 miles away, helping other larger vessels steer clear of his boat.

He also has dehydrated food to last him for about 120 days, along with chocolates, biscuits, drinks and a very special bottle of Jack Daniels, which he is planning to open on February 2 – his 61st birthday.

“I’ll be able to have a dance on my own as no one will be able to see what I’m doing,” he joked.

Pete’s boat is also equipped with a tracker which will update his location every 24 hours and can be followed online. He’ll also be taking photos and filming videos along the way.

If all goes well, Pete is expecting to arrive in mid-March in the French Guyana, where he will be welcomed by friends and his wife and daughter.

“We will probably have a party once I’m able to walk properly again,” Pete said.

Pete’s journey can be followed on his website (www.indiansummer2022.co.uk) or on Instagram or Facebook (@indiansummer.2022).

By Michael Bruxo
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