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50 Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 23, 68-year-old Tom Butscher rowed across the Atlantic Ocean

No.23 Our retirees don’t quit

(Images: Matthew Tammaro)

Tom Butscher, a 68-year-old resident of Ward’s Island, has an impressive athletic resumé of speed skating championships and a 12-year rowing career. Now he can add “oldest person ever to row across the Atlantic Ocean” to his list of achievements. On January 11, he joined a 16-person crew on the 40-foot-long ocean catamaran Big Blue and set out from Morocco. The team rowed a gruelling 12 hours a day—between six and eight crew members at a time. Butscher saw sharks circling the boat, island-sized whales breaching on the horizon, the vessel being thrashed by torrential winds, and waves breaking upwards of 12 metres high. In total, he covered 5,500 kilometres of open sea before the team pulled into the harbour of Port St. Charles, Barbados, on March 4.

  • Tom Butscher

    Dear Emily Landau,
    Thank you again for for having me as reason 23 why we love Toronto.
    I like your article on my effort to row the beautiful Atlantic Ocean.

    I do not like the picture Daniel Neuhaus picked of me. I look tense and
    that is observed by the position of my face and of my right hand. I feel I should look into the camera.
    I spent 3 hours one cold Saturday with Matthew Tammaro and with Daniel
    Some 60 pictures where taken to end up with this one

    Not impressed
    yours truly

    Tom Butscher ocean-rower

  • Cynthia Warn

    Not true Tom, you look like a fierce competitor with his eye on the finish line!
    You are a great example. Whenever I have a crew that is incredulous or horrified at rowing marathon distance, I tell them about your feat. That usually shut’s them up!

    Cynthia Warn, sculler

  • Petra U

    Nonsense Tom! That is a great picture of you! You look reflective of your accomplishments and contemplative of your next rowing adventure. You are an inspiration to us all and I am proud to know you and to have paddled alongside you!

    Petra U, Coxie

  • Yvonne Pennefather

    Hey Tom, I think it’s a very good picture too. It doesn’t look posed and I don’t see you looking tense, just focused. They even mentioned your speed skating. Way to go!

    Yvonne Pennefather, rec. rower and fellow speed skater