Nautical history has been made by Isaac Giesen, son of Giesen Wines co-owner Theo and his wife Janet. Mr Giesen has become the first Kiwi to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean during the 2018 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge—all in support of a cause that’s close to many New Zealanders’ hearts.

Mr Giesen completed his solo row of more than 3,000 nautical miles across the Atlantic by enduring 70 days, 19 hours and 37 mins at sea. He set off from the Canary Islands in December and touched down in Antigua overnight on Thursday, 21 February.  What’s more, Mr Giesen has also become the first Kiwi to have crossed the Atlantic twice within one year, rowing more than 12,000 kilometres alone.

This gruelling journey is widely-regarded as one of the world’s most intense physical challenges, yet the biggest obstacle Mr Giesen faced was a mental one.

Under the name The Blue Rower, Mr Giesen has raised NZ $50,000 in support of three New Zealand and Australian charities dedicated to treating and raising awareness of depression.

“I lost my Aunty and two close friends to suicide. Against the odds and against the weather, I’m raising money for the fight against depression,” said Mr Giesen.

Isaac’s father, Theo Giesen, observed, “It’s an incredible feeling when someone you love achieves success through pure hard work and determination.”

As a family-owned business, the Giesen Group team shares a personal connection with the family’s achievement: “There were a few glistening eyes here in the Christchurch office. Very emotional. Very proud,” said Angela Flynn, Giesen Group’s Marketing Manager.

Isaac Giesen hopes to raise a total of NZ $1 million in support of mental health charities Bravehearts, Black Dog Institute and Victim Support New Zealand.

To learn more about Mr Giesen’s cause to drive awareness and funds for mental health, visit or

Visit the Atlantic Campaigns Facebook page to watch Isaac’s arrival video:




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