Abu Dhabi: Victor Mooney plans a second attempt to row The Spirit of Zayed across the Atlantic Ocean in the hope of raising awareness of Aids and highlighting the humanitarian acts of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Mooney, 42, from Queens, New York, will start his trip on December 1, World Aids Day, from Goree Island, Senegal and travel 8,000 miles to Brooklyn Bridge, New York City (NYC). The trip is estimated to take eight months. After arriving in NYC his boat will be airlifted to Djibouti and he will continue to row another 1,500 miles to the UAE, which will take another 45 days.
"My main aim out of this boat trip is to increase awareness of Aids globally especially in regions like Africa and Asia where the Aids percentage is higher. The boat is named after Shaikh Zayed because of his spirit, humble nature and humanity with both his countrymen and countries across the world. This project will share his legacy with the West," said Mooney.
Mooney went on a cycle tour across the UAE this summer and collected cultural and heritage items of significance from each city that he will carry with him across the Atlantic Ocean. Both of Mooney's elder brothers contracted Aids, one has already died and the other is critically ill. For that reason he decided to start a week-long campaign running until October 14 in the hope of raising donations.
"Aids is preventable and I hope the Spirit of Zayed campaign will raise resources for my trip," he said.
Mooney has been rowing for the past five years. His last attempt to sail the Atlantic in May 2006 failed when his boat sank."I was rescued by the Senegalese Navy after spending an hour in the water. The Spirit of Zayed is being imported from England and is much stronger and not made by me this time," he said.
The Spirit of Zayed Campaign needs to raise Dh367,800. The public can send their donations to The Red Crescent.