It was January 7, 2006, and Paul Gleeson and Tori Holmes were at their wits’ end. They were taking part in the Woodvale Transatlantic Rowing Race and were adrift in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean aboard their tiny 23-foot rowing boat named Christina. It was their 39th day at sea, and the young couple was over a thousand miles from land. Three days earlier, their water-maker began to fail and they had been rationing water ever since. A water-maker is critical for survival on a journey like this, because it extracts salt from the ocean water to make it drinkable. Without it, Paul and Tori would die from thirst.

“We decided to continue rowing, limiting ourselves to five liters of water a day,” lamented Tori. “It was torturous.” The two rowers ...

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