Row, Row, Row Your Boat

UZH student Luca Baltensperger rowed across the Atlantic as part of the “Swiss Mocean” team. No mean feat, with about a million rowing strokes over 4,700 kilometers.

Adrian Ritter

Luca Baltensperger
Luca Baltensperger
Luca Baltensperger spent three years preparing for the rowing adventure in addition to studying. (Picture: zVg)


Row for two hours, then sleep for two hours, day in, day out – for 30 days and six hours. The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is probably one of the toughest sports challenges there is. It involves rowing from the Canary Islands across the Atlantic to Antigua in the Caribbean – a distance of 4,700 kilometers.

On 14 December, 28 rowers and rowing teams lined up for the newest edition of this adventure, including the Swiss Mocean team of four with Luca Baltensperger, who is studying law at the University of Zurich. About a million rowing strokes later and they reached the finishing line last Saturday, arriving in the Caribbean Sea in third place. They’re the first Swiss to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a rowing boat. And in so doing, the four adventurers also raised money for an orphanage in Romania.

Swiss Mocean
Swiss Mocean
Made it: The Swiss Mocean team arrived in the Caribbean on 13 January 2018, following 30 days of rowing. Luca Baltensperger can be seen holding up the Swiss flag. (Picture: zVg)

Luca Baltensperger and his fellow rowers Marlin Strub, Laurenz Elsasser and Yves Schultheiss spent three years preparing for the race. For Luca Baltensperger, this meant that he had to balance his preparation work with his studies – first during a Bachelor’s and later during his double degree Master’s program.

The four rowers are currently still in Antigua celebrating under the Caribbean sun – and recuperating. But not for much longer. Luca Baltensperger will soon return to the University to complete his studies and hand in his Master’s thesis in May.

Adrian Ritter, editor UZH News. English translation by Philip Isler, UZH Communications.

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