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Paraplegic Angela Madsen Joins Crew Attempting to Row Across Indian Ocean

  • Published: 2009-02-12 (Revised/Updated 2010-06-27) : Author: Angela Madsen
  • Synopsis: Paraplegic Angela Madsen who rowed across the Atlantic joins 8 person crew in effort to break records attempting to row across the Indian Ocean.

Main Document

Angela Madsen, Paraplegic woman who rowed across the Atlantic, joins 8 person crew in effort to break multiple records while attempting to row across the Indian Ocean.

Woodvale Challenge Ocean Rowing will be launching an 8 person crew to attempt a speed record. The crew of 8 will begin at the same time and location as the other boats in the Indian Ocean 2009 race and finish at the same location in much less time than it takes the other racers setting one of multiple records.

Speed record across the Indian Ocean.

No 8 man crew has ever rowed any ocean

Angela will be the first woman to have completed the Indian Ocean row (providing she gets there first and is the only female in the crew of 8)

Angela will be the First Paraplegic and woman with a disability to have ever rowed across the Indian Ocean and the first to Paraplegic and woman with a disability to have rowed across 2 oceans

Angela captured the title for first Paraplegic and woman with a disability to row across the Atlantic in the 2007 race completing the row in 66 days 23 hours and 24 minutes with Amputee French rowing partner Franck Festor. Website

At present there are only 2 individuals who are considered to have completed an entire crossing of the Indian Ocean, Anders Svedlund said to have crossed in 64 days back in 1971 and Simon Chalk who crossed in 107 days in 2003, so the gauntlet has been set and the getting the record is achievable.

The Route:

Geraldton, Western Australia - Port St Louis, Mauritius 3,100 nautical miles

The Date:

The start is scheduled for the 19th April 2009 in order to coincide with the start of the first ever ocean rowing race across the Indian Ocean the Indian Ocean Rowing Race 2009.

More about the Indian Ocean Race 2009

Angela Madsen with the boat
About This Image: Angela Madsen with the boat
The first ever ocean rowing race in the Southern Hemisphere has captured peoples imaginations around the World.

The race starts in Geraldton, Western Australia and forms part of a week of maritime celebrations. The local fishing fleet will escort the rowing boats away from the coastline and past a reef system some 60 miles off shore. The route will take teams over 3000 nautical miles across the Indian Ocean to the paradise island of Mauritius.

Teams from all over the World will compete on equal terms in solo, pair and four person teams. The start of the race is planned for April 2009 to miss the cyclone season that ends in between February and March. Fours teams should complete the crossing in around 60 days and pairs should be completed in around 80 days.

As ocean rowing races have proven in the past - the speed of crossing could increase dramatically as soon as teams are pitched in race classes against each other.

The weather won't be the same as the constant trade conditions of the mid-Atlantic. Teams will have to row every mile with a lower amount of support from both wind and currents. The temperatures will be high - especially close to Australia but then should cool as the race unfolds.

There is far less shipping in the Indian Ocean than in the Atlantic. There is less pollution and the wildlife is simply out of this World! Sharks, whales and dolphins will be common sight. Bird-life is ever present, shoals of fish will follow the boats, and the night time sky will be breathtaking.

The Indian Ocean Rowing Race will be the adventure of a lifetime.

More about Angela Madsen

Angela had back surgery in September 1993 to correct an injury she suffered while on duty in the military. The botched surgery, however, resulted in incorrect bone grafts and disabling injuries when a drill or screw pierced her spinal cord.

"One doctor told me my physical condition was a waste of human life. I decided to prove him, and everyone who thinks like him, wrong by making my life anything but a waste," Madsen said.

Since the spinal cord injury, Madsen has undergone a double mastectomy for breast cancer, and more surgery for carpal tunnel and ulnar nerve problems. She has also been diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, but medication has kept it under control.

Angela has since gone on to compete in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, has competed in wheelchair basketball leagues, surfed in the Women's World Championships of Longboard surfing in Biarritz France and become an expert rower, specializing in adaptive rowing techniques - those used by people who are differently abled.

Angela has gone on to become founder and director of California Adaptive Rowing Programs, a US Rowing level III rowing coach and has been a member of the U.S. National Adaptive Rowing Team Member since 2002 Rowing in this years Paralympics in Beijing China.

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