Bulgarian student becomes world’s youngest ocean rower  

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Maxim Ivanov and his father Stefan Ivanov

BULGARIA/BARBADOS –Bulgarian high school student Maxim Ivanov and his father Stefan Ivanov, a Bulgarian financier and entrepreneur, set a world record and several first-time achievements after rowing across the Atlantic Ocean on NEVEREST – a boat they built themselves for this expedition.

In the middle of June, the two Bulgarians set off from Portugal and after 105 days at sea, they arrived safe and sound in Barbados (Caribbean Islands) at 12:00 pm local time on October 6 (you can watch a video here).

Maxim set a record becoming the world’s youngest ocean rower to successfully cross an ocean. When the journey began on June 14, 2020, the student was only 16 years and 293 days old.

NEVEREST became the first ocean rowing boat to cross the Atlantic east to west during the hurricane season.

Another significant achievement is the fact that this is the first-ever ocean rowing expedition for Bulgaria. The two enthusiasts travelled 4444 nautical miles (8230 km) with a fibreglass boat, made by them in their garage. The boat is powered solely by two oars and has no sails or engines.

During the expedition, the father and son had to deal with the winds, waves and currents created by 4 tropical storms and the hurricane Teddy. They spent many days on sea anchor until the conditions got better. Maxim and Stefan’s journey coincided with the hurricane season. This year it was about 40 percent more active than usual. In addition to the 105 days at sea, the Bulgarians spent nine days in Lanzarote (Canary Islands) in order to repair the autopilot system and fix the leaks in several storage compartments on the boat.

Maxim and Stefan’s expedition was dedicated to a special cause – stimulating the organ donation. The rowers supported the campaign of the Bulgarian Ministry of Health ‘YES! FOR LIFE!’, whose goal is to increase public awareness about organ donation and to encourage more people to save a life by becoming potential donors after their death. During their expedition, the two travellers came up with new ideas on how to further help the cause.

“Our expedition in the Atlantic Ocean was a unique and unforgettable experience for me. I made one of my dreams come true and I found out that even the most impossible goals could be achieved with consistency and careful planning”, said Maxim, who celebrated his 17th birthday at sea on the board of the NEVERST boat.

“We had numerous moments of joy and satisfaction and we learnt valuable lessons while we were building the boat and rowing across the ocean. We discovered again and again that growth occurs outside of the comfort zone”, affirmed Stefan.

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