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DARING THE SEA: THE TRUE STORY OF THE FIRST MEN TO ROW ACROSS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN

DARING THE SEA: THE TRUE STORY OF THE FIRST MEN TO
ROW ACROSS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN (1998). Written by David W.
Shaw (1961– ), Daring the Sea is the true story of George Harbo (1864–
1908) and Frank Samuelsen (1870–1946), two Norwegian immigrants who
in 1896 successfully rowed from New York City to La Havre, France. The
pair left Manhattan on 6 June 1896 and arrived in La Havre two months
later, having endured exhaustion, starvation, near collision with steamships,
and near drowning when a monstrous wave capsized their eighteen-foot
boat, the Fox, in midocean. Against all odds, the pair persevered and survived, expecting that their daring feat would bring them fame and wealth
on the lecture circuit. Though they set the record for being the first men
to row across the Atlantic nonstop, they failed to gain much public acclaim,
and the truth of their story has become obscured by legend and supposition.
Their crossing has attained nearly mythic proportions over the last 100
years; they were rumored, for example, to have been offered a $10,000 prize
on completion of their venture. Shaw effectively replaces such rumors with
the facts of the voyage, having gained access to descendants, Harbo’s personal log, and a later history that Harbo dictated. The contemporary “Ballad
of Harbo and Samuelsen” (1985), written by Jerry Bryant, has been sung
in folk and sea music* circles for years. Daring the Sea is the first published
work about this legendary voyage.