Big Blue Row
Your Subtitle text


David Davlianidze
Age 3
President and CEO of Roc Expedition

Born and raised in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia
Since 1997 David has resided Shelter Island New York and is the head of Roc Expedition he is also the founder of Shelter Island boats and Roc Expedition whose rapid growth and success is largely due to David's natural engineering skills.  David holds a Masters Degree in economics from Tbilisi State University and was instrumental in the foundation of the Tbilisi stock exchange as Georgia gained it's independence.

The combination of his skills and education make David the perfect person to handle the financial management of the expedition and to fulfill the role as engineer aboard Big Blue.

David will be  FIRST Georgian to cross any ocean in a rowing vessel. 

Wow eeh, another Canuck !

I live with my wife Luisa on Toronto Island. We have a daughter Isabella, a teacher and a son Matthias  soon to be a licensed high-rise plumber. My wife and  I were born in Zurich Switzerland.  I have been an athlete all my life. I raced bikes as an amateur  to take up speed-skating. I skated nationally and internationally for 8 years. I started rowing in 2000 I love long distances, the longer the better.  I have crossed Lake Ontario 5 times, then I rowed the length, 340 km.  I am being told I am the only rower to go across and back non-stop 100 k in 12 hours. I just love rowing. 

In early November I went down to Shelter Island to decide if I want to join the crew of Big Blue and to see if they want meon board I fell in love with all these fine people and with the boat. I will row with them across the Atlantic I am so fortunate.  I promise to contribute unselfishly, I will row hard and I will be a friend. 

I dedicate this row to the memory of :my brother Peter Butscher, my friend Tony Koechli  (an excellent oarsman in his days), to  Margaret Philp a fellow Islander, a  mother of four, an athlete a fine runner.  All three past away of cancer

There are quite a few reasons that I decided to become involved with power to travel such an overwhelming distance and to help fundraise in support of the empowerment and rights of Indigenous people all over the world.  However, the main reason that I couldn't help but dedicate myself to this expedition, was the opportunity to explore one of the most remote places on earth with a dynamic team of adventurers. 

My background is in long range expeditions across the Canadian wilderness, including an 8400km cycling trip in the summer of 2009, canoe trips on Ontario and Quebec rivers, and surveying and research work in the Yukon and Northern Quebec.  As the cinematographer on board, I will be capturing this voyage on HD cameras to document every step of the way.  Ever since I saw the sleek hulls of Big Blue I've been thinking of different ways to show her off in front of the camera.

Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario I am yet another Canadian to join this roster of swashbucklers looking to cross the Atlantic on Big Blue in world record time. I currently reside in Guelph, Ontario where I attend the local university and dabble in a wide range of classes. During the summers I travel to a small town called Pickle Lake where myself and my fellow crew members work together to put out forest fires, and sometimes get to travel out of province to lend a helping hose. All in all, working with all that water, has made me thirsty! Thirsty to try my hand at a new adventure aboard Big Blue, where I’m confident that we can achieve all goals set for this voyage with this great crew, boat and Captain.

      Louise Graff
I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and now live in Charleston, S.C.  I started rowing with the Louisville Rowing Club after graduating from Earlham College.  I continue to skull on the Ashley River in Charleston. 

I was part of a two person team who attempted the Atlantic Challenge crossing from the Canary Islands to Barbados, and have since successfully competed in the Marathon Rowing Championships in Natchitoches, La. in a double, octuple and dragon boat. I spent an amazing summer (80 days) paddling and rowing 1800 miles on the Yukon River in British Columbia and Alaska. 

For the last six years, I have been very active as a volunteer steersperson, assistant coach and paddler with Dragon Boat Charleston, a wellness program for cancer survivors and community paddling club. Our cancer survivors in this program are a constant inspiration to me to reach further than I ever thought possible and live life to its fullest!! I also paddle and compete with the South Carolina Canoe, Kayak and Outrigger club. These clubs have given me the opportunity to compete in numerous U.S. cities as well as Canada and China.  I enjoy volunteering with Charleston Area Therapeutic Riding as well as swimming and reading and playing the kazoo as musical talent intrigues but eludes me.

I love to travel and can’t wait to experience Morocco and Barbados! I am very excited to be a part of this amazing challenge on Big Blue.

Margaret is an expedition manager specialising in polar and ocean expeditions. She works with teams on every aspect of their expeditions and adventures, from crew selection through to sponsorship and PR.

Margaret’s background is in factual TV production management and she brings a wealth of media expertise to any expedition. Current projects include an unsupported expedition from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole and back again and a 3-week Zambezi River rowing expedition for a team of 15 rowers.

Margaret is the first Australian woman to row an ocean. As well as managing numerous expeditions she has also worked closely with teams such as London to Paris Rowing Race entrants Le Figarow and the Haigh Lyon Sea Gals, winners of Virgin GB Row 2010. She was instrumental in developing the concept of a Bristol Explorers Club and continues to provide informal support to countless expedition teams.


I'm 21, grew up on good ol' St Joseph Island and have always had a thirst for those experiences that bring out the best in life. Athletically, I consider myself a runner - having been coached to compete at the national level for the Lakehead University track team. Also, I like beer.. but am yet to successfully combine these two hobbies in a completed beer mile attempt - but we all need a goal.

During the summers I've been working at a summer camp as a leadership trainer and in more recent years have been leading month long canoe trips down (and up) Northen Rivers. In 2008, I swung a degree in Poli-Sci and destined not to fall into a routine and work a normal job, took off to South America to learn Spanish and eat up as many experiences as I could bite into. After 6 months of working at hostels, looking for anacondas and failing summit attempts, I heard the old man was trying out to cross the Atlantic.. in record time. I checked it out and was immediately drawn to the whole thing. I've been pumpin' the guns since then. 

As for the Atlantic Crossing in 'Big Blue'... it seems to me that we've got the Captain, we've got the boat design, we've got the crew and if we get some decent weather - we've got the world record.

Age: 34
Nationality/City : Austria / Vienna
Occupation: Logistics Specialist

After my apprenticeship from 1991-94 incl
Federal Diploma I worked for different
Transport Companies in Austria and abroad.
Also I've been with the Austrian Armed Forces
on different Peacekeeping/enforcement
Missions between 2001-2005 in Kosovo and on
the Golan Heights.

Languages: German, Czech, Croatian, English

Competitive Sports: 8 years Bike Racing
Skipper-Angela Madsen

Angela Madsen is a 50 year old Grandmother of three from Long Beach, CA  She is a member of both the Disabled American Veterans and the Paralyzed Veterans of America.  Angela also enjoys working with newly injured vets to get them involved with adaptive sports.  In February of 2003, the Amateur Athletic Foundation named Angela as a recipient of the Women Who Inspire Us Award; in September of 2003, she received the Leo Reilly, Jr. Award for outstanding spirit and determination. 

In December of 2007 she set out to row across the Atlantic in an ocean rowing boat with her rowing partner Franck Festor, an amputee from France who did not speak English  (Angela does not speak French).  They rowed nearly 3000 miles in 67 days, coming in 8th place in the pair’s class.  There were 22 boats in the race and they were the only physically challenged athletes so on February 7, 2008, she became the first paraplegic woman to ROW across the Atlantic Ocean.

Angela is also on the US Rowing Team and competed in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, China.  She is a 4 time World Championship Gold Medalist and a
Level 3 Rowing Coach.  She is the Founder, Director and Coach/instructor of the California Adaptive Rowing Program, a non-profit program which teaches
disabled people to row since 2000.

In 2009 Angela rowed across the Indian Ocean from Geraldton West Australia 3,600 miles to Mauritius an Island east of Madagascar. A Crew of Eight on a 58
day adventure that set many world rowing records. Fastest rowing crossing of the Indian Ocean, she is now one of the First women to row across the Indian Ocean and the first disabled woman to row across 2 oceans.

In 2010 Angela was part of another world record setting rowing crew of 4 women. They became the first and fastest women’s crew to circumnavigate Great Britain and Angela has become the first and only person with a disability to have rowed the 2,010 miles non stop and unsupported from London Tower Bridge to London Tower Bridge in 51 days. 

Charles Wilkins is a fulltime writer who divides his time between his home in Thunder Bay, Ontario, on the north shore of Lake Superior, and his cabin in the Muskoka region of central Ontario. He has written fifteen books, including Walk to New York, about his 2,200-km hike from Thunder Bay to New York City, The Circus at the Edge of the Earth, about his travels with the Great Wallenda Circus, and, most recently, In the Land of Long Fingernails: A Gravedigger’s Memoir, about the summer of 1969, during which he dug graves in a big corporate cemetery in the east end of Toronto. He has three children (girls 14 and 15, a boy 21) and enjoys travel, sport, and the benefits of a rich inner life. He also enjoys a good laugh… and, whenever possible, enjoys inspiring one through his writing.

Elizabeth Koenig

Liz Koenig is from Cold Spring Harbor, NY. She works as a Community Manager for a Digital Marketing Agency. She also coaches the Saint Anthonys Novice womens crew team where she coached them to a 10th place finish at SRAA Nationals in 2010 and a second place finish at the 2010 NY State Championships.

Liz started rowing in 1999 for St Anthonys High School in South Huntington NY and then went on to the University of Rhode Island where she rowed varsity all 4 years, including a semester rowing in the Czech Republic. She has medaled in various races with URI, including Gold in Varsity 8 at ECAC Metro and at the Atlantic10 Championships. In 2007, with the US Rowing Under 23 Development team, she placed 2nd in the Women’s Championship 8 at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta. She has also competed Women’s Championship Double and Championship 8 at Head of the Charles numerous times.  Liz also spent 4 summers rowing for the Sagamore Rowing Association, placing in the top 6 of the Womens Double event at US Rowing Nationals and earning the 2004 Bronze Stroking the Women’s Quad.

Liz is also raising funds for the Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospitals pediatric unit to help out a family in need of financial support. Her cause is called Row for Hope

Read Liz's Blog at

Aleksandra Klimas-Mikalauskas
          Long Island, New York

Aleksa began her rowing career in college at Stony Brook University, and was later recruited to Dowling College in Oakdale, New York.  At Dowling she was a member of the college's first women's eight to be invited to the NCAA DII Rowing Championships in 2006.  She graduated from Dowling in 2006 with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology-Anthropology, and continued on to recieve her Master's degree in Elementary Special Education. 

In the spring of 2009 she returned to Dowling College to become the Assistant Women's Rowing Coach.  Aleksa also works as an EMT-Critical Care and as a substitute special education teacher.  Aleksa is also a volunteer firefighter and EMT-CC in the North Babylon Fire Company (Long Island, NY).  She enjoys community service, photography, and almost anything that involves being on or near the water.

 Sylvain Croteau

I am a 46 year old emergency physician from Quebec, Canada. Married, I have been with my wife Suzanne for 12 years and we have two sons, Justin (10) and Benjamin (8).

Coming from the world of long distance triathlon, I have completed 8 Ironmans, including Hawaii in 2000, I started rowing in 2007 as a cross-training but immediately fell in love with the sport and almost instantly started to do long distance, discovering, only after, that others were sharing the same taste for distance and challenging conditions. As I was exploring the sport of open water rowing, I discovered the almost infinite possibilities in challenging yourself, not only physically, but psychologically and spiritually as well. I have been reading about ocean rowing for awhile and was totally fascinated but, for the longest time, it seemed out of reach...The kind of boats, the logistic of preparation, the time to cross...So when I heard about the expedition, the organisation, the boat, the time expected, it seemed to be the answer to all that prevented me from doing it and I almost said yes on the spot. A few days later and with the blessing of my wife, I was in.

I have also been working on an open source project in Health informatics, a project that, I believe, has the potential to help community of practice in medicine to collaborate in creating tools that will improve the quality, the efficiency and security of the care provided to their patients. I will try to organise fund raising for this cause around this trip.

I am a goal oriented person, good team worker, even tempered, focused, never bored and I have this capacity to go on and on...This last part will definitely be tested on that trip...

I am a 55 year old maple syrup producer (and  physician).  I have been married for 26 years to Janet McLeod and have three adult sons: Jeremy, Zak, and Nigel (as well as grandson James). 

I grew up on Toronto Island and spent most of my childhood fishing and messing about with sailboats.  A high school dropout at 16, I experienced 8 years of the "real world" workforce before returning to university in  Kinesiology followed by a degree in Medicine. 

Blessed (or cursed) with a short attention span and considerable enthusiasm, I  love to start new projects.... but need lots of variety in life. I am competent at many things but excel at few. prefer trips of sufficient duration that they "become" my life. I prefer trips of sufficient duration that they "become" my life. I prefer it when little exists outside the moment. If I posses a single.....and keep on going.suffer.....and keep on going.

Ryan Worth
I’m 23 years old and currently studying Environmental Science at the University of Tennessee where I coach the club rowing team (Tennessee Crew) and work for the University’s Outdoor Program as a manager and trip leader.  I row at the Oak Ridge Rowing Association and lend my hand where needed as a coach and in doing yard work, home repairs, and other odd jobs where people will have me.

 I began rowing in high school for the Chattanooga Junior Rowing team while I worked to rehabilitate my knee after an injury sustained in football.  After a winter on the erg and a spring on the water I was hooked and never went back to football.  My senior year I captained the team and qualified for a trip to Junior Nationals for the second year in a row that summer.  It was during my senior year in high school that I also told my friends I wanted to row across an ocean. 

I continued rowing in college at UT where I served as the novice team captain and for two years as the Club President.  My love for the water and outdoors runs deep. I grewing up in a family that often enjoyed camping, hunting, and fishing trips. 

I’m also an Eagle Scout and enjoy riding bicycles, shooting sports, trekking, fishing, hunting, paddling, rock climbing, and running.
Liam Flynn

I’m a 24-year-old final year medical student from England, hoping to start neurosurgical training in a couple of years. I’ve done coastal rowing for a few years now and love the bigger waves and focus of the team within the sport. I enjoy long-distance cycling and running and am hoping to do my first Ironman after the crossing (although doubt I’ll catch up with Sylvain!).  

I like to push myself with different challenges and have wanted to row across the Atlantic for many years now. My friends would describe me as relentlessly stubborn when it comes to not giving up, and I hope this will stand to me during the crossing. The opportunity to attempt it in a pioneering boat and with such an enthusiastic team is just too great to miss. 

Website Builder