1896 – The First Two Men Row Across The Atlantic Ocean
Their time record of 55 days would not be broken for 114 years, but the time record for two people rowing across the Atlantic still belongs to Harbo and Samuelson.
The inspiration for their scheme was Richard Kyle Fox (1846–1922), the publisher of National Police Gazette. Fox was editor and publisher of the Police Gazette from 1877 until his death in 1922. He had backed previous schemes that today might feature in the Guinness Book of Records. Fox offered a prize of $10,000 to the first men to row across the Atlantic. Using their life savings, an 18-foot ship-lap (clinker-built) oak rowboat was built with water-resistant cedar sheathing with a couple of watertight flotation compartments and two rowing benches. The boat was fitted with rails to help them right it if capsized, a feature that saved their lives in mid-ocean. The boat was carrying American flags and was named “Fox” in honor of the editor. With a compass, a sextant, a copy of the Nautical Almanac, oilskins and three sets of oars lashed safely in place, they set out from The Battery in New York City June 6, 1896, and arrived 55 days later in the Isles of Scilly off the southwestern tip of the Cornish peninsula of Great Britain.
They received medals but were never paid their prize of $10,000. They received 10 Krona ($100?) each from the King of Sweden.