Thursday, December 12th, 2019

Rowers aim for world record crossing

Published on June 6, 2014 by   ·   No Comments


Would you like to do something for charity?  Maybe raise awareness of the increasing problem of plastic in the oceans?  How about rowing 2,100 miles, potentially battling 20-foot waves in shark infested waters?  No?  You’d have to be nuts?  Well, this is the goal that four seemingl-sane UK adventurers have set themselves.

The group consists of Sam Collins from Cornwall, the baby of the team who will celebrate his 26th birthday on the crossing, Fraser Hart (34) from Tunbridge Wells, Londoner James Wight (36) and Colin Parker (36) who currently resides in Auckland, New Zealand.


The adventurous foursome will be competing in the New Ocean Wave Great Pacific Race.  On June 7 they will line up against 12 other crews at the start line in Monterey, California, and between four and eight weeks, and more than one million oar strokes, later they will finish in Honolulu, Hawaii.  No four-man team has ever made the crossing before, so the race to the record books is truly on.


“Two issues terrify me about the trip: getting into a huge storm, and getting bored.  On calm, quiet days, rowing for 12 hours may push the boundaries mentally.  Still, I imagine my thoughts will be filled with Hawaii and getting to a well-stocked bar on the beach,” says Colin Parker.  “Dangers we are likely to confront are overfriendly whales, container ships, and downturns in the weather that can cause rough seas.”

The Woodvale Fours’ class ocean rowing boat, Britannia 4, will become their home for the duration, it has two rowing positions and the four will take it in turns to row in pairs, two hours on, two hours off, until they reach dry land…over four weeks later.


The boat has proved its seaworthiness having already crossed the Atlantic twice with other teams.  It is a specially designed ocean rowing vessel fitted with solar-powered water desalinators and communication equipment, including GPS, EPIRB and a satellite phone, presumably so the team can keep up to date with the World Cup results.

Cabins at either end are used for sleeping and storm shelter.  The crew’s freeze-dried-food cuisine and other essentials such as sun cream and first aid equipment are stored under the deck.  The boat is self-righting, should it capsize – possibly its most useful feature.


However the team isn’t just doing this for “fun”, they are using the trip to raise awareness of the problem of plastic in the world’s oceans, in particular the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.


“We chose the issue of sea plastic for a number of reasons, not least because we will be rowing very close, if not through, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is a huge area hundreds of miles from land where plastics accumulate.  Plastic in the seas is something we can all do something about and very easily, whether it be reducing our plastic consumption or heading to our nearby beach for a clean-up.”  Colin explained.


The team has launched a #Plasticfree campaign and the message is a simple and positive one.  Through their blog they want to promote the good work of people and groups who endeavour to tackle to the issue of sea plastic, whether through beach clean-ups, research, or those who have excellent tips of cutting down on plastic use.


So if you’d like to help there are a few things you can do –  cut down on your plastic usage, keep an eye out for local beach cleaning events or just visit the team’s blog and donate.  You too can help the clean-up of the oceans, and you don’t even need to row through shark infested waters.







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