Aussie honors grandfather with record-setting journey

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Aussie honors grandfather with record-setting journey

New Mercury outboards supplied the power

Australian water-skier Alex Luther completed a remarkable Mediterranean Sea skiing odyssey on July 7th – precisely 10 days, 2 hours and 17 minutes and 2,298 miles (3,699 kilometers) after he began.

Luther and his all-important support team launched their effort June 27th from Tangier, Morocco, and arrived tired but successful July 7th in Cervia, Italy. His route took him from Morrocco to Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar before skipping along the southern coasts of Spain, France, Monaco, Italy and Croatia, then backtracking a bit to finish in Cervia. The journey touched seven countries and crossed six seas, one strait and two gulfs.

Luther, 36, dedicated his accomplishment to his grandfather, Harry Luther, who established a world record for water skiing in 1970 when he skied 3,113 miles (5,010 kilometers) in 10 days, 5 hours, and 36 minutes on virtually the same route.

Alex Luther named his project “Chasing Canguro,” with a nod to his grandfather’s nickname, the Italian word for kangaroo. Alex’s stops along the northern Mediterranean Sea exactly matched the waypoints his grandfather traveled. However, contemporary digital and GPS technologies assisted in plotting more efficient routes between those waypoints, resulting in his reduced overall distance.

Alex Luther’s Axopar 37 Sun-Top boat was powered by dual Mercury Marine 300hp V-8 Verado outboards. He predicted success prior to the start of his long run.

“We have the perfect combination in place to set the team up for success in the anticipated conditions — with both reliability and the ultimate in performance assured by the Mercury twin engines,” Luther said.

Weather and sea conditions encountered by the Chasing Canguro team were harsher than anticipated, putting both the skier and his equipment to the test. The boat and engines ran at high average speeds for hours on end, sometimes through fierce winds and five-meter waves. The only casualties, however, were a minor knee injury and badly blistered hands.