British Woman Prepares To Row Across The Pacific

Sarah Outen will soon start her row across the Pacific OceanLast April we posted a story about Sarah Outen, an adventurous 26-year-old from the U.K. who had set out to circumnavigate the globe using nothing but her own power. Sarah called her journey the London2London expedition and over the past 12 months she has traveled by kayak and bike across Europe and Asia. Now she is preparing to embark on the next stage of her journey, a solo row across the Pacific Ocean.

Sarah is currently in Choshi, Japan, where she is busy making the final preparations to her 21-foot rowboat named Gulliver. That boat will be her home for the next seven months as she undertakes the physically and mentally demanding task of crossing the Pacific. If all goes as planned, and the weather is right, she’ll set out tomorrow on a 5179-mile row that will eventually end in Vancouver, Canada.

This isn’t Sarah’s first ocean crossing under her own power. Back in 2009 she rowed solo across the Indian Ocean as well. That expedition took more than four months to complete and covered approximately 3100 miles of open ocean. The Pacific will provide a similar experience, albeit on a much grander scale.

After setting out from London last year, Outen paddled down the Thames River and crossed the English Channel in a kayak. Arriving on the shores of France, she climbed aboard a bike and began peddling east, crossing through numerous countries in Europe and Asia along the way. She arrived in Japan last October, but the Pacific is unforgiving in the autumn and winter so she has waited until now to start this stage of the journey.

After she completes her row across the Pacific, Sarah will once again return to her bike and continue her round-the-world adventure. The next stage will involve riding across Canada and the U.S. Finally, she intends to cap the journey by rowing across the North Atlantic and back up the Thames River, finishing where she started under the London Bridge.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

[Photo courtesy Sarah Outen]

How to row across the ocean


How to row across the ocean


Over the weekend, the New York Times memorialized adventurer John Fairfax in the most awe-inspiring obituary ever written. In it, we learned that Mr. Fairfax had run away to the Amazon jungle at 13, then later worked as a pirate’s apprentice out of Panama. But the main narrative of Mr. Fairfax’s life was that he had rowed across not one, but two oceans: the Atlantic in 1969 and the Pacific in 1972. In fact, he was “the first lone oarsman in recorded history to traverse any ocean.”

While ocean rowing sounds like a near impossible feat, there are still dozens of adventurers in pursuit of this challenge. Earlier this month, Gadling profiled the Pacific Rowing Race, which is set to take place in 2014 following a course from Monterey Bay, California to Honolulu, Hawaii. No doubt, the Ocean Rowing Society, the organization charged with the adjudication of all ocean rowing records and on whose steering committee John Fairfax was a member, will be on hand as rowers set out on their quest.

The Ocean Rowing Society devised a set of guidelines for ocean rowers in a meeting in 2000. The guidelines cover acceptable crossings for the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, definitions of assisted and unassisted rows, and minimum compulsory safety measures and equipment for undertaking an ocean row:

  • It is noted that Christopher Columbus’ route from Spain to the Bahamas is the traditional Atlantic crossing route (“Departures from Cape Verde will be recognized as an Atlantic Ocean crossing with the words “shortened crossing” added to official listings.”)
  • Auto-steering is optional.
  • Wind generators may be used.
  • Solar panels should be used for generating all electrical power on board the row boat.
  • Canopies are not allowed.
  • Ocean rowing is a drug-free sport.

Head over to the Ocean Rowing Society website to learn more.

Image Flickr/TrueFalseFilmFestival

Pacific Rowing Race announced

The Pacific Rowing Race will launch in 2014!Adventurers and extreme sports athletes looking for a new challenge may well find what they’re looking for in the newly announced Pacific Rowing Race. The event, which isn’t scheduled to take place until June of 2014, will cover more than 2100 nautical miles, beginning in Monterey Bay, California and ending in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Organizers of the event expect that it will take around 30 to 35 days for the fastest two- and four-person crews to row the entire length of the course. The current record for an individual rower is 64 days, and was set back in 1997, but due to advances in technology and better boat design, a solo racer could easily break that record. On the other hand, teams who are more interested in enjoying the experience of being out on the ocean, and aren’t trying to set new speed records, could take as much as 100 days to reach the finish line.

Along the way, racers will face a host of weather conditions, ranging from clear, calm days to potentially dangerous storms. They’ll also have to contend with seas that can be both extremely turbulent or smooth as glass. And while they’re out on the water, they’ll experience breathtaking sunrises and sunsets and a peaceful solitude that is broken from time to time by a passing dolphin, whale, or other sea creature.

Some of the details on the race are still being worked out, but if you’re interested in taking part in the event, there is an online form that you can fill out by clicking here. Completing that form will ensure that you receive the latest news on the event and keep you updated on any announcements from the race organizers.

Online entry for the Pacific Rowing Race is scheduled to open on April 2nd of this year, giving participants more than two years to prepare.

[Photo credit: Roz Savage]

Roz Savage finishes Indian Ocean row

Roz Savage has finished her row across the Indian OceanLong distance rower Roz Savage has added yet another ocean to her already impressive resume. The woman who has already rowed solo across the Atlantic and Pacific, has now completed the Indian Ocean as well, arriving in Mauritius today after 154 days at sea.

Savage began her journey way back in April, when she set out from Fremantle, Australia. After a few early set backs with her boat, she eventually hit the open water, where she spent more than five months alone, battling high winds, big waves, and ocean storms. Some days she made good progress, racking up plenty of miles, and others she struggled all day just to end up back where she started.

Of course, with four major long distance rows under her belt – Roz did the Pacific in three stages – it wasn’t anything she hadn’t seen before. The Indian Ocean did present its own unique challenges however and for the first time, she had to deal with the real possibility of encountering pirates on one of her journeys. Because of that threat, Savage chose to keep her GPS tracking system off until she was nearly to the finish line, just in case someone else was following her progress.

With the completion of her Indian Ocean crossing, Roz has now become the first woman to row solo across the Indian, Pacific, and the Atlantic. With all of that time spent out on the water, she’s gained quite an appreciation for our planet and the importance of taking care of our oceans. That’s a message she has carried with her across the globe and continues to spread where ever she goes.

Now that she’s conquered the last of the “Big Three” of ocean rowing, Roz has announced she’s hanging up her oars to pursue other endeavors. I’m not sure how you top rowing three oceans, but I’m sure she’ll find a way.

Explorers rowing to the Magnetic North Pole

A team of explorers will row to the Magnetic North PoleA few days back, a crew of six adventurers set out in a specially designed rowboat on a 450-mile journey to the Magnetic North Pole. The six-week long journey began in Resolute Bay, Canada and will end when the team becomes the first to row to the Pole, which is located in a remote area of the Arctic Ocean.

Not to be confused with the Geographic North Pole, the Magnetic North Pole is actually the location on the surface of the Earth that a compass points to in the Northern Hemisphere. Over the years, that point has been known to change and move, but it is currently located at the coordinates of 78°35.7N 104°11.9W. The Geographic NP is, of course, found at the top of the world, at exactly 90°N.

This expedition is led by Jock Wishart, a veteran polar explorer and ocean rower. He is joined by a crew of experienced sailors and adventurers that includes Mark Delstanche, Billy Gammon, Rob Sleep, David Mans, and Mark Beaumont. The plan is for the team to row in three hour shifts, as they make slow, but steady, progress toward their goal.

According to the expedition’s website, the crew launched amidst good weather on Saturday, with low winds and temperatures hovering around 55°F. That is quite warm for the Arctic, and those conditions aren’t expected to last, as even in the summer, the temperatures can fall well below freezing and high winds can make travel extremely challenging.

If all goes as planned, the team should reach their goal sometime around the middle of September. You’ll be able to follow their progress at RowToThePole.com, which includes blog updates from the water, live GPS tracking, and plenty of information about the boat and her crew.

[Photo credit: RowToThePole.com]