Victor Mooney of Queens, New York has reached San Juan, Puerto Rico in his 24-foot boat, “Spirit of Malabo,” during the solo transatlantic row from Maspolamas, a town off the coast of Africa, to New York. Mooney has attempted the 5,000 mile row, also known as the Goree Challenge, for the past 10 years to honor his late brother who died of AIDS in 1983. In his fourth and final attempt at the feat, Mooney will briefly stay in San Juan to advocate for AIDS awareness and voluntary HIV testing. He will also share his inspirational plight with The Boys and Girls Club to encourage youth not to give up on their aspirations. Later in the week, Mooney will begin the next leg of the journey, traveling from the Puerto Rico to New York City.
The first leg of Mooney’s expedition abruptly ended in St. Martin when violent currents overpowered his boat, alarming St. Martin rescue vessels. The rescue mission concluded a 128-day ordeal in which Mooney faced a distressing shark encounter, as well as an 80-pound weight loss. Regaining the strength and supplies to proceed, Mooney was able to depart St. Martin and after only two days at sea, Mooney faced a tropical storm that damaged vital pieces of equipment. The Spirit of Malabo was towed to shore in the British Virgin Islands, where Mooney remained to replenish supplies. On September 3rd, Mooney was ready to continue the journey and was joined by John Duncan, The Governor of the British Virgin Islands and members of the British Virgin Islands Tourism Board to send him off with well-wishes.
This journey has also been made possible with support Mooney’s friends and family, Lloyd Tackling, (U.S. Consul Warden, St. Martin, St. Barth & Anguilla) GlobeComm Maritime, TNT Express, Electec and Custom Fit Marine, as well as his official Goree Challenge sponsors including, Rubenstein Public Relations, Island Water World, Bel Air Beach Hotel and Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and Casino.
Image courtesy Rubenstein PR