The SAOUG year end function and BGM was held at Kleinkaap Boutique Hotel in Centurion on 02 November 2018. The speaker of the event Vasti Manser opened her talk by sharing a secret to making a good speech (according to her father) “Stand-up, speak-up and shut-up”
Vasti lived in Johannesburg and studied law with a focus on civil limitation. She is presently an Advocate and part of the Cape Bar. Riaan her husband is an explorer. In April 2013, she wanted to do something incredible with her life. A week later he suggested taking her to New York as she always wanted to visit the city but this was to be in a row boat. The row boat was only 6.9m long, 1.9 wide. They used a bucket for a toilet, to clean themselves, clean the boat and wash their clothes, the same bucket as there was very limited space on the boat.
She showed a video of them leaving from Morocco to New York on the 3rd of December 2013 rowing, cooking ….fishing…..rowing…… swimming …..bad weather…lots of rowing…reached the Canary Islands…. Bahamas…… Miami then New York on the 20 June 2014. That is 133 days, 11 000 kilometres, 4 1/2 half months at sea and no land in sight.
This earned them a Guinness world record for being the only people rowing from Africa to North America, Vasti being the only woman to cross the Atlantic via Bahamas. (Fun fact: St Salvador is the island in which Columbus also landed in 1492 when searching for the Americas)
They encountered many dangerous situations – ship traffic, wild life – a shark that followed them for 3 hours, their boat capsized and the satellite phone broke. Weather conditions were not perfect sometimes 4 to 5 metre waves. The ocean was like mountains and there was mountains of water. The finish line was the Statute of Liberty rowing up the Hudson River. After the trip she said she was never ever rowing again.
However in 2016 she married Riaan and their honeymoon was from San Francisco to Hawaii … in a boat. They re-named the boat Honeymoon. It took 39 days – an ultimate test. Breaking the world record and accomplishing the unthinkable. They started on the 15th of July and landed on the 25th of August 2016. A Month before, there was a race to Hawaii of a 4 man team, they broke the previous world record of 40 days by completing the race in 39 days and 12 hours.
Vasti’s advice is “Be determined to never give up. Don’t do your best, sometimes doing your best is not good enough. Try to do your best but don’t stop there, we are all capable of much more than we think we can achieve.”
Visit our Facebook page for photos of this event.