They set out with four colleagues in a rowing boat, the "Sara G," yesterday morning from Agadir bound for Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados, more than 3,000 miles away. The start had been postponed last week due to adverse weather conditions at the Moroccan port
"It looks like we'll leave at 6 o'clock in the morning," Jones told the Echo on Monday. Their aim, he explained, was to get 15 or 20 miles out to sea to avoid facing the 20 mph headwind that starts up daily at 11 a.m. off the coast.
Jones's wife Andree confirmed to the Echo Tuesday that the "Sara G" had left. "I spoke to Mike after his first 2-hour session on the oars and spirits were high," she said.
The multinational crew faces a grueling 2-hours on, 2-hours off schedule over the next 50 days or so. The rowers will each get three 90-minute periods of sleep, at most, every day.
"There is the sleep deprivation factor. But we knew that when we signed up," said the 29-year-old Cobh native Mike Jones, who works as operations manager for the University of Limerick Activity Center.
Most crewmembers hadn't met each other before owner-skipper Matt Craughwell, an Englishman with Irish roots, summoned them for a training weekend recently.
"So we'll have a lot to talk about," Jones said. "We'll have six weeks to get to know each other."
Williams, the 26-year-old second in command from Cork City, said in a statement: "Interestingly, while we will be only the second ever ocean rowing voyage to start an east to west crossing of the Atlantic from Morocco, a staggering 213 ocean rowing voyages have left from the Canary Islands."
That earlier Moroccan start was from Casablanca; this is the first voyage to leave Agadir.
The other rowers on the "Sara G" are: James Kenworthy of England, Canadian Myl