On a 4th try, after failing on three previous attempts to row across the Atlantic Ocean in memory of his brother who died of AIDS & to encourage HIV testing, Mooney set off from the Canary Islands on February 19, 2014. He landed at Brooklyn Bridge on November 28, 2015. He faced enormous challenges in the twelve years it took for him to live a dream.
He faced enormous challenges in the twelve-year it took for him to live a dream. This feat was a first on many fronts. Over the years, Mooney drifted in life raft for fourteen days, survived pirate attack, an oceanic white tip shark damage his boat, loss an astonishing 80 pounds after finally rowing across the Atlantic.
In his pursuit of his dream, Mooney would have an audience with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican on December 1, 2004 - World AIDS and a African Head of State would ultimately sponsor the boat that would allow him too complete his quest to row from Africa to Brooklyn.
In 1994, Don Victor Mooney travelled to South Africa. At the Presidential Residence of Nelson Mandela in Cape Town, the Head of State receive Mooney with open arms.
After presenting Mandela with items on behalf of New York elected officials, Mandela shared some wisdom with Mooney. He said, follow your heart, Victor...
When New York City Cardinal John O'Connor died, many were sadden with his passing. The Cardinal touched the hearts of many. During the early pandemic of HIV/AIDS in New York City, Cardinal O'Connor cared for the dying and forgotten.
Without the glare of media attention, he poured his humanity in bathing, comforting, and praying for people with AIDS at Saint Vincent's Hospital. Mooney wanted to share that legacy of humanity, which triggered him to start paddling around New York waterways for AIDS awareness. For the next four summers, his event was dubbed Paddle for HIV/AIDS.
Brooklyn, New York (August 29, 2005) - Having difficulty in finding a sponsor to buy a second hand boat and time running, Mooney decided to build his own. His last woodworking project was in Junior High School, but that didn't stop him. After six months of boatbuilding, his homemade boat was sent to Senegal. A three years of planning, his row across the Atlantic Ocean would last less than thirty minutes. The Senegalese Coast Guard rescued him as his boat was sinking. Some didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
Atlantic Ocean (April 18, 2009) - After 14 days at sea, Victor Mooney would be rescued by a Spanish fishing vessel. On his second try, Mooney had a professional boat built, but his water systems failed. His support team recommended him to abort the row. After activating his EPIRBS, France, Senegal and United States coordinated his rescue. Safely aboard the fishing vessel, which was towing his boat, the line came loose. Mooney watched helplessly, as his boat separated from the vessel.
Sao Vincente, Cape Verde (February 28, 2011) - Victor Mooney began his third try at crossing the Atlantic Ocean. His boat called, Never Give Up, was damaged during transit and had repairs done to the best of his ability. That didn't help. As he began his journey, the boat took on water. Mooney would then launched his life raft and drifted for fourteen days in open ocean until MV Norfolk rescued him. The dry bulk container delivered him to Brazil and he flew back to New York.
Masapalomas, Gran Canaria (February 19, 2014) - Third time is a charm, is their a fourth? Well, Victor Mooney certainly set his sights on finally completing his quest to row across the Atlantic Ocean. With a custum Brazilian made ocean rowboat, Mooney landed in St. Maarten, DWI, 129 days later, 80 pounds lighter and survived a shark attack. After boat repairs he continued only to be hijacked in Haitian waters. After a multinational rescue, Mooney was fine, but his vessel was not seaworthy. His boat was sent to Miami aboard a cargo ship for repairs, afterwards he continued up eastern seaboard. Mooney arrived at the Brooklyn Bridge on November 28, 2015, a twenty-one month journey.
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