WELLINGTON, New Zealand – A 12-foot shark attacked the boat of a New Zealand team competing in a trans-Atlantic race on Tuesday, rocking the vessel and leaving the rowers "shell shocked."
"We were really scared," rower Tara Remington said on the Team Sun Latte Web site. "It was so aggressive and persistent, for a while we wondered if it would ever stop."
The shark battered the boat for 15 minutes, forcing Remington and teammate Iain Rudkin into the well of the 24-foot Woodvale Pairs class ocean rowing boat.
"It just kept hitting the boat, having a go at the rudder, the sea anchor and hull. We weren't sure it wasn't biting holes in the underside so we rang the support ship Aurora for advice and possible assistance," Remington said.
The support ship arrived about six hours later.
Remington and Rudkin are one of 26 teams competing in the 2,550-nautical mile Atlantic Rowing Race from the Canary Islands to Antigua.
After the support ship arrived and examined the boat, Remington and Rudkin continued, subsequently reporting that they had pulled within 8 nautical miles of the lead boat in the mixed pair division, Row4Cancer.
The New Zealand Herald newspaper said Remington and Rudkin were about 600 miles from the Canary Islands riding out a strong headwind when the attack occurred.
"The unprecedented attack continued unabated over the next 15 minutes leaving the rowers shell shocked," the Team Sun Latte Web site said.
Rudkin said on the Web site that he considered taping a flare to a cooking gas canister, "and trying to shoot it 'Jaws' style, but thought better of it."