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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.