Human Powered: Rowing from Portugal to Miami in a Handmade Boat

In the next leg of his human-powered journey to reach the seven highest summits in the world, Jelle Veyt will row from Portugal to Miami in a boat he's been building over the past six months.

Human Powered: Rowing from Portugal to Miami in a Handmade Boat

Before Jelle Veyt is cleared to row across the Atlantic, the boat he's been building by hand for the past six months will be capsized with the rowers inside the cabin to see if it passes the self-righting roll test. [Play this episode of The Outdoor Journal Podcast.]

In the beginning of the new year, Koen De Gezelle, Gijs Vanden Bogaerde, and Jelle Veyt will be rowing 4500 miles from Portugal to Miami. These three friends didn’t sit still during the pandemic and lockdown. They used the extra time to make their own rowboat from scratch. (Koen De Gezelle from Whaleboat has been a driving force in the design and construction). With this boat, they will be crossing the Atlantic in three months from Portimao, Portugal to Miami.

Bogaerde right and Veyt left.

The boat, made of carbon fiber, is completely handmade in Belgium. It took them more than six months of full-time work. The result: a nine-meter ocean rowboat with two cabins and a self-righting keel - one of the lightest ocean rowboats ever made.

The crossing will be a huge challenge with a distance of 4,500 miles in three months. The entire expedition is unsupported - all necessary food and equipment are on board.

This is a part of Veyt's “Secutec Seven Summits”. He is climbing the highest peak on every continent by his own human power only. He would be the first person ever to do so. In the past years, he began the Seven Summits journey by climbing Mt. Elbrus in Europe, Mount Everest in Asia, and Carstensz Pyramid in Oceana, reaching each one by cycling and rowing. [Listen to Jelle Veyt discuss his Seven Summits goal in this episode of The Outdoor Journal Podcast.]

In April 2020, Veyt was forced to return to Belgium due to the pandemic. He got stuck in the Congo on his way to Kilimanjaro after covering 8,500 miles by hand bike, bicycle and kayak.

Read next on TOJ: The Human-Powered Rule: Europe to Kilimanjaro Without a Motor

The team - Jelle Veyt, Gijs Vanden Bogaerde, and Koen De Gezelle.

Veyt's purpose is raise money and awareness for organizations that engage in creating a better world for others, especially those that inspire others to be more aware about our planet and how we can take care of it and each other. Visit for more info and examples.

In the coming months, Veyt will cycle from Belgium to Portugal (1100 miles). Then the team will start the rowing expedition to Miami. From there, Veyt will continue his cycling 10,000 miles across the USA to Alaska. Then he'll need to navigate through the wilderness and climb Denali, the highest peak of North America. [Listen to Jelle Veyt discuss his plan in this episode of The Outdoor Journal Podcast.]

Follow along with Veyt's journey on Facebook and Instagram.

Read more sailing stories on The Outdoor Journal.

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