Ontario father-daughter duo embark on cross-continental row across Atlantic

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ATLANTIC OCEAN, At Sea — An Ontario-based record-setting solo rower is back at sea on his latest cross-continental expedition — this time joined by his 20-year-old daughter.

John and Libby Beeden, who lived in Burlington for 15 years, are nearly halfway through their 5,650-kilometre voyage from Portimao, Portugal to Antigua after setting off about a month ago.

Cheryl Beeden says her husband was ready to “hang up his oars” after becoming the first person to row solo non-stop from North America to the Australian mainland in 2015, but Libby convinced him to get back in the boat for a father-daughter row across the Atlantic.

The Beedens, who take turns at the oar and sleep in shifts for nearly round-the-clock rowing, nearly capsized early in their journey due to the perilous conditions, and after Libby suffered a bout of sea sickness, they decided to reroute from their original destination of Miami.

John Beeden, who is from the U.K., said in an email that this crossing has been even tougher than his last, but has been made all the better for sharing it with Libby, allowing him to see her not just as his daughter, but a partner.

Libby Beeden admits there can be trying moments spending weeks at sea alone with her father, but says they’ve always been close, and she expects they’ll still be speaking when they reach land. Cheryl Beeden says she hopes to reunite with her husband and daughter in Antigua in roughly six weeks.

The Canadian Press