World Record setter

Life, Politics, Sports

“Katie learned many lessons regarding failure during the 70 days she spent rowing across the Atlantic Ocean completely alone. Though her crossing was ultimately successful, the journey required overcoming failure multiple times.

This began years before she even put her boat into the ocean. She recalled:

“After several months of searching, I finally found an ocean-worthy rowboat for sale within my budget. She was perfect for me. However, the one that fit my personality and checkbook had problems. First she was wooden, so she was much heavier to row. Second, she required alterations, since she was built for two rowers. Third, she had already weathered some very extreme storms, including four cyclones and two hurricanes. Finally, the most challenging hurdle: she needed to be delivered from Central America to the United States.

She was docked at a port in Costa Rica after a previous ocean crossing. But obstacle after obstacle arose, and then the portmaster shared with me that someone might be living in it! In my mind this boat was ‘the one’ that would make my dreams happen.

Fast forward several months later: the only thing I was achieving was mounting debt, as I tried to negotiate the bureaucracy.

Katie Spotz, Youngest solo rower to cross the atlantic, TedTalker

The final straw was when I finally learned that the owner couldn’t transfer the title to me for legal reasons. The boat was not going to be mine. Furthermore, I was losing faith in the community of ocean rowers I was planning to rely on to provide me information about crossing the Atlantic. My good boat deal became nothing but a good-sized debt. My piggy bank was empty, so I couldn’t even begin to look for another boat. Back I went to square one.”

“I had two things going for me. First, I had time and second, I still had this unquenchable desire to row across the ocean. This became one of the first lessons that the Atlantic taught me, and it was before I even came close to her waters. Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”



World Record-setter, youngest solo rower to cross the atlantic, TedTalker, Part of Glamour Magazine Women of the year (2010), Clean water for everyone activist

The above excerpts come from the book Just Keep Rowing: Lessons from the Atlantic by the Youngest Person to Row Across It Alone written by Katie Spotz and Mark Bowles. Learn more about this book at

Category Life, Politics, Sports


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