Showing posts with label Rowing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rowing. Show all posts

Video: Chaco Presents: The Time Travelers - Chasing a Speed Record in the Grand Canyon

A few weeks back I posted a story about a team of paddlers who attempted to set a speed record for rowing down the length of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. They ultimately came up a bit short do to mechanical issues, but the effort was nevertheless amazing. Now, a documentary of the team's journey is in the works and we have a trailer for that film. As you'll see, this was quite an undertaking as the short clip gives us a brief glimpse of what to expect when the full-length film is released down the line.

British Explorer to Attempt Solo, Non-Stop Row Across Pacific Ocean

We haven't even reached 2017 yet, and we already have news about a major endurance challenge set to take place in 2018. That's when British adventurer and endurance athlete Ness Knight plans to set out on a solo row across the Pacific Ocean, where she hopes to become the first woman to make that crossing non-stop.

The current plan is to depart from the San Francisco in May and begin the 7000 mile (11,265 km) journey across the Pacific with the goal of finishing in Sydney, Australia. Knight says she expects the entire crossing to take between 180 and 270 days to complete, which means she could be looking at upwards of six months, completely alone out on the water.

Some of the challenges she expects to face along the way include large waves – possibly 40 feet (12 meters) tall or higher – and massive storms. She'll also face the same problem that nearly ever ocean rower has – malfunctioning water makers. Every rower carries more than one of these devices that helps convert salt water to something that is drinkable, but it is a known issue that they break down often. Ness will also have to carry all of her supplies with her on the boat, so she'll have to ration her food to make through the entire journey as well.

Of course, Knight isn't the first woman to cross the Pacific Ocean solo. Roz Savage did that by completing her Pacific Row back in 2010. But, when Roz made the trip she did it in stages over successive years beginning in 2008. Ness plans to push on through in one go, which will indeed be a first for a female rower.

But before this daunting expedition can ever get off the ground – or leave the harbor if you will – Ness first needs to raise funds to help get her out on the water. With that in mind, she has recently launched a campaign to find sponsors to help lend a hand. If anyone out there is interested in assisting her efforts you can find out more about the possibilities by downloading and reading this sponsorship document which is in a .pdf format.

While May of 2018 seems like an awfully long way off at this point, it will likely be here before we know it. At that point, we'll of course be following Ness' Pacific Row closely. But before she ever gets underway, I'm sure we'll have some more updates to report.

Good luck Ness!

The 2016-2017 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Rowing Challenge is Underway

One of the great annual endurance events in the world got underway yesterday as the 2016-2017 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge began in the Canary Islands off the coast of northwest Africa. Over the next two months, 12 solo, two-person, and four-person teams will row across the Atlantic Ocean to the finish line on the island of Antigua in the Caribbean Sea, covering some 3000 nautical miles (3452 miles/5556 km) in the process.

The rowing crews departed at 9:30 AM local time from the harbor of San Sebastián de La Gomera with a large, and loud, crowd to see them off. As you can imagine, the teams were pretty excited to get underway, but they didn't leave without a bit of trepidation. Most won't see their loved ones for awhile, as the two-person teams are estimated to take roughly 50 days to cross the Atlantic. Of course, the four-person squads – which includes an all-women's team from the U.K. – should go a bit faster, while the solo racers will take longer.

One of the teams from the U.S. consists of brothers John and Kurt Suchwartz, who managed to catch some media attention when it was learned that they would row the Atlantic naked. Of course, experienced rowers know that this isn't completely uncommon, as it helps to lower the level of friction and reduces blistering. Still, it made for a salacious headline or two leading up to the start of the race.

Now that they're underway, the teams will face everything from perfectly calm, lovely weather, to potential tropical storms, heavy waves, and high winds. It's all part of the challenge of course, but that won't make it any easier to complete.

You can follow the progress of the teams in the weeks ahead at race's official website.

Canadian Adventurer Completes Solo Atlantic Crossing in a Rowboat

Back in June I wrote about Laval St. Germain, a Canadian adventurer who was preparing to embark on a solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a rowboat. He was using his ocean crossing as a platform to raise funds for the Alberta Cancer Foundation, and set out from the coast of Nova Scotia back on June 15. This past weekend, he wrapped up the journey at long last, reaching the shores of France on Saturday.

It took St. Germain 53 days to complete the Atlantic crossing, which he said he was able to do thanks to the good weather he had throughout the voyage. He told the Canadian media that he had plenty of time to become accustomed to his boat and the daily grind of rowing before bad weather and difficult seas set in. By that point, he was much better prepared to deal with the conditions, which were expected even during the summer months when the North Atlantic is at its calmest.

All told, St. Germain covered approximately 4500 km (2796 miles) on his aquatic journey, which began along the eastern coast of Canada and ended in Brest, France. That is the opposite direction of most Atlantic rowers, who tend to start in Europe or at the Canary Islands, and head west to the Caribbean.

Laval says that he is happy to have completed the journey, but he is disappointed in his fund raising efforts. He had hoped to bring in $200,000 to support the Cancer Foundation, but has raised just $51,000 to date. That is still an impressive number, but far short of the goal that he had set for himself. He promises to continue with those efforts even though the ocean crossing is now complete.

Despite not raising as many funds as he would have liked, this was still a fantastic effort. Rowing an ocean as part of a team is a heck of a challenge, and doing it solo even more so. Congratulations to Laval for completing this undertaking and doing so for a worthy cause at the same time. He should be very proud of what he has accomplished on both fronts.

Canadian Adventurer To Row Across the Atlantic Solo

A Canadian adventurer who was the first person from that country to summit Everest without the use of oxygen is now preparing to embark on his next big challenge – a 4500 km (2796 mile) solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean to raise funds to fight cancer.

This month, Laval St. Germain will set out from Halifax Habor on what he calls the Confront Cancer Ocean Row. His hope is to arrive in France in a few months time, braving big waves, hundreds of miles of open water, and potentially dangerous storms along the way. Traveling west to east across the turbulent North Atlantic will test his stamina and determination with cold water and icy seas as well.

St. Germain is making this solo Atlantic crossing to raise funds for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. He hope to pull in $200,000 in donations to help support that organizations cause, which is to work towards the cause of curing cancer and bringing an end to the disease which 43 Albertans are diagnosed with on a daily basis.

But Laval has another inspiration for rowing across the Atlantic too. In July of 2014, his oldest son drowned in a canoe accident on the Mackenzie River in the Northwest Territory of Canada. He was 21-years old at the time, and had been attempting to lend assistance to a girl who was panicking while swimming in those waters. The young man lost his life, which as you can imagine had a dramatic impact on his family's life.

According to his Twitter feed, Laval will launch his epic crossing starting tomorrow – Wednesday, June 15. His specially designed rowboat has been placed in the water, and has been stocked with supplies, and the weather looks good for the start of the journey.

If you want to follow this adventure as it unfolds, it looks like Laval's Twitter is the best way to go. I wish him godspeed on this expedition. It should be a challenge unlike any other.

All-Female Rowing Team Completes Pacific Crossing

On Monday of this week, a team of women rowers completed an epic crossing of the Pacific Ocean, arriving in Cairns, Australia after spending more than nine months at sea. The Coxless Crew, as they are known, set out from San Francisco back in April of 2015, and although they took longer than expected to complete their journey, they did manage to set a couple of records along the way.

The team's boat – named Doris – was designed for a four-person crew, and three of the members of the team stayed aboard for the entire crossing, while three others rotated in and out three different legs. The permanent members of the crew included Laura Penhaul, Natalia Cohen and Emma Mitchell, with Isabel Burnham, Kizanne van Vuuren, and Meg Dyos, each taking a turn at the oars. Burnham rowed from San Francisco to Hawaii before giving way to van Vuuren, who was part of the team from Hawaii to Samoa. Dyos took over from there, and was with the Coxless Crew when they arrived in Australia this week.

As is typical with a four-person crew, two members were at the oars at all times. In this case, they would row in two-hour shifts, and sleep 90 minutes at a time. In this way, they were able to cover the 14,800 km (9200 mile) journey, although it did take about three months longer than they had anticipated.

I first wrote about the Coxless Crew back in 2012 when they were planning to depart the following year. Obviously they hit a few road bumps along the way, delaying their start and changing their plans a bit. But they stuck with their goals and pushed forward with the challenge they had set for themselves despite adversity. Pernahul in particular was keen to take on the Pacific, and she seems to be the only member of the original crew who made the crossing.

By arriving in Australia on Monday – 257 days after the set out – the ladies became the first all female crew to cross the Pacific, and the first four-person team to do so. Along the way they faced massive storms, crushing waves, encounters with whales, and extreme heat in the South Pacific. Their adventure wasn't just for the challenge however, as they also raised funds for the Walking with the Wounded and Breast Cancer Care charities.

Congratulations to the six ladies who worked together on this fantastic achievement.

The 2015 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge Gets Underway on Monday

One of the toughest endurance races in the world is set to get underway on Monday, when the 2015 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge begins in San Sebastian on La Gomera in the Canary Islands, and ends when competitors reach English Harbour in Antigua. In between, they must cross more than 3000 miles (4828 km) of open ocean, completely unassisted and under their own power.

This year there are 26 teams from around the world taking part in the race. They are competing in two separate divisions, with some solo racers, as well as two- and four-person squads. The faster boats (read the 4 person teams) will be able to finish in under 40 days, while the solo racers could take upwards of three months to complete their ocean crossing. Doubles teams typically finish in 60-70 days, although weather conditions can of course play a huge role in how fast these teams can go.

As you would expect, these rowboats are marvels of modern technology and engineering. They have each been designed to be as efficient as possible out on the water, and come equipped with solar panels to help power navigational and communications systems. They also have desalinization equipment that can create drinking water from the ocean. Small cabins allow the crew to get some respite from the elements, particularly while sleeping, and they'll carry 2+ months of food and supplies with them as well.

The two- and four-person crews will man the oars 24 hours a day, seven days a week until the cross the Atlantic. They'll work in shifts, with one or two people rowing for two hours before taking a break. Of course, the solo rowers will need to stop to sleep, but They'll often row for 12+ hours per day themselves.

The boats will depart from La Gomera at about 6:30 PM local time on Monday, with everyone getting underway at the same time. From there, we'll be able to track their progress using GPS, but don't expect the first teams to arrive in Antigua until late January at the earliest.

South African Mother-Son Team To Pedal Across the Atlantic

Yesterday I posted a story about a Frenchman who is preparing to cross the Atlantic on SUP board. Today we have word of another Atlantic crossing, this time under pedal power.

South African Davey Du Plessis and his mom Robyn Wolff plan to set out in the next few days, depending on the weather conditions. They'll leave from Cape Town with the intention of pedaling their custom made boat all the way to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Their journey will cover an estimated 6450 km (4007 miles), and is expected to take anywhere from 90-150 days to complete.

The mother-son crew are obviously in for a big adventure out on the high seas, but they are undertaking this epic journey to help raise awareness of how man is causing the mass extinction of life across the globe. Through our own actions, we are having a deep, and lasting, impact on the planet that is resulting in a sever loss of life that will be irreversible. Davey and Robyn hope to bring this cause to the forefront of world issues through their efforts. You can find out more about his issue at

If Davey's name sounds familiar, its because he made world-wide headlines back in 2012 when he attempted to travel the length of the Amazon River, but was attacked by gunmen, shot, and left for dead. His story was a brutal reminder that not all of the challenges that we face while traveling through remote areas are due to Mother Nature. Other humans can still be a major threat too.

Davey and his mother intend to set out before the end of November, so they are starting to run low on days. But they are prepared to be begin when the weather allows them to, and they know that the ocean may not be all that accommodating to their schedule. They'll make their Atlantic crossing in  a boat that has no sail or motor. Instead, it has been outfitted with a specially created pedal drive that will allow them to make progress as if they were pedaling a bike. The boat was also made from sustainable materials to help make it safe for the environment as well, and it it is outfitted with the standard equipment you would expect on an ocean crossing, including water purification system, GPS navigation, and emergency radios.

Good luck to Davey and Robyn on this voyage. It should be an amazing one.

Sarah Outen Arrives in Montreal, Won't Row Atlantic Ocean Again

Last week I posted the news that round-the-world adventurer Sarah Outen had been forced to abandon her attempt to row solo across the North Atlantic due to an impending storm. The British woman was picked up by a ship called the Federal Oshima, which was bound for Montreal Canada at the time, although we knew it would be a few days before the vessel reached that destination. On Saturday,  Sarah was delivered safely back to dry land, and has finally had a chance to share her feelings about having to not only give up on her Atlantic crossing, but also abandon her rowboat in the middle of the ocean.

Sarah spent 143 days out on the water, on what would have been the final leg of her London2London via the World expedition. She has spent the better part of the past four years attempting to circumnavigate the globe under her own power. During that time, she has traveled by bike, kayak, and rowboat through some remote areas of the world, and the Atlantic crossing would have seen Outen return home to where the entire journey first started. Unfortunately, Hurricane Joaquin had other plans, and now Sarah is back in Canada, where she set out from back in May.

The row across the Atlantic was originally expected to take about 120 days to complete. But traveling west to east in a rowboat brings different challenges, and as a result it took much longer than expected. Ocean currents worked against Sarah's efforts, and heavy storms often kept progress to a minimum or negated it altogether. As a result, 143 days in she was still 1000 miles (1600 km) from the finish line, with time quickly running out.

As anyone who has followed Sarah's adventures knows, she has experienced similar issues in the past. While crossing the Pacific back in 2012 she was hit by a storm as well, smashing her boat and forcing her to call for assistance than too. But unlike then, Sarah now says that her expedition is over. In an interview conducted after her arrival in Canada, she says “I don’t have the resources, financially or physically, to take on another trip.”

The journey isn't completely over just yet though. Sarah will fly home to the U.K. today, and will then ride her bike from Falmouth, England to the finish line in London, completing a portion of the final stage of her journey. That ride will cover about 400 miles (643 km).

It's a shame that such a grand adventure had to end this way. Sarah has overcome a lot in the past few years, and for her to be so close to finishing before this latest setback is crushing I'm sure. But as always, she'll make the best of the situation, and solider on the end. Mostly, I'm glad she's safe, and on her way home at last.

Sarah Outen Forced to Abandon Atlantic Crossing

If you've been following Sarah Outen's London2London via the World expedition over the past few years, you know she's faced some tough challenges in her attempt to circumnavigate the globe completely under her own power. This weekend she may have reached her biggest hurdle yet however, as the 30-year old adventurer saw the final stage of that journey hit with a major setback. One that threatens to put an end to the entire project.

Sarah was 143 days into her Atlantic ocean crossing in a rowboat this weekend when she was forced to call for help by a passing boat. The seas had become incredibly turbulent and winds as high as 60 knots (69 mph/111 km/h) were being recorded as hurricane Joaquin took aim at her position. The storm, which is raging in the North Atlantic now, put Sarah in jeopardy, forcing her to call for assistance even as she was closing in on London, the starting point for this epic round-the-world adventure that began more than four years ago.

On Saturday, Sarah was safely retrieved by a passing ship called the Federal Oshima. That vessel is currently bound for Montreal, Canada and is scheduled to arrive there later in the week. Unfortunately, Sarah's rowboat – Happy Socks – was damaged in the rescue and had to be left behind on the Atlantic Ocean. That leaves her now heading in the wrong direction, and without a boat to complete the journey home.

The expedition first started back in the spring of 2011. Sarah paddled under the London Bridge on the Thames River, than set out across the English Channel to France. From there, she rode her bike across Europe and Asia, eventually returning to her kayak long enough to reach Japan, where she intended to row across the Northern Pacific Ocean. Her first attempt to complete that stage met with a similar setback when a major storm hit the region, forcing the British woman to call for a rescue, and abandoning another rowboat. She was able to recover from that challenge, and returned a year later to finish the crossing of the Pacific, reaching the Aleutian Islands in Alaska in 2014. Sarah than paddled the Aleutians to the mainland, returned to her bike, and rode across the U.S. and Canada, arriving in New York City this past March. After waiting for spring to arrive, she set out on the last leg of the journey – the crossing of the Atlantic.

It's hard to say where this puts Sarah's circumnavigation attempt now. As you can imagine, she is heartbroken over having to call for assistance, and leaving her boat behind. Whether or not she'll be able to raise the funds to buy another boat remains to be seen, but I have no doubt that she'll still want to see this undertaking through to the end.

We should know more once she reaches Canada in a few days. It'll probably take some time to sort out the logistics, but I suspect she'll find another way to overcome this obstacle in time as well.

London2London via the World Update: Sarah Outen Nears Half-Way Point of Atlantic Crossing

The last time we checked in with Sarah Outen, she had just wrapped up her crossing of North America on a bike, and was enjoying some time in New York City. That was back in the spring, and since then she has pedaled her way north back into Canada, and more importantly launched the final stage of her expedition, as she is now rowing across the Atlantic Ocean, and making her way back home.

For those who haven't been following Sarah's fantastic journey, it all began back in 2011 when she set out from London to circumnavigate the globe under her own power. She first started by paddling a kayaking down the Thames River in London, followed by a crossing of the English Channel. From there, it was on to her bike for a long ride across Europe and Asia. After that, she returned to the water, making a crossing of the Pacific that took a couple of tries to complete. Eventually, Sarah made it to Alaska, where she returned to the bike for her ride across North America. She has spent the better part of this summer rowing across the North Atlantic on her way back to where she started in London.

Originally Outen believed it would take roughly two years to complete her round-the-world adventure, but a series of unforeseen incidents have stretched that time much further. For example, back in 2012 she was caught in a massive storm in the Pacific that forced her to abandon her attempt at rowing that section. It took some time to recover from the loss of her boat and schedule another attempt, but eventually she was able to finish that section as intended.

Sarah has now been out on the ocean for 90 days, and has just received a resupply in the middle of the ocean from some French sailors. She wasn't in need of any assistance at all, but three sailboats were going to be passing along her route, and they decide to rendezvous to deliver some treats, including beer, bread, salami, and chocolate, to help make the remaining leg of the trip a bit easier and more enjoyable.

As of this writing, Sarah is about 1700 nautical miles (3148 km/1956 miles) away from England. When she arrives at the shores of her home country, she will get on her bike one last time, ride it to the Thames once again, and kayak back up the river on her way to the finish line at the London Bridge. That is probably still a few months off, but she is closing in on the end at long last.

Follow Sarah on her voyage at her official website, where she is posting daily dispatches from the water.

Indian Ocean Rowers Rescued for Second Time

For the second time in two months, a pair of ocean rowers has been rescued while at sea. British adventurers James Ketchell and Ashley Wilson called for assistance today when they were hit by a big storm that rolled their boat on multiple occasions, possibly causing Wilson to suffer a concussion. 

The two men first set out on their attempt to row across the Indian Ocean back in May. They had hoped to set a new speed record for a two-man crew, but just one day into the journey they had to be towed back to their starting point in Perth, Australia when an electronic guidance system failed. 

After spending several weeks getting their boat back in order, the duo set out once again last Friday, but just five days into their second attempt, bad weather descended upon their route. The large storms rolled the boat, causing the crew to lose some of their gear, and Wilson to strike his head. The adventurer suffers from what is described as severe epilepsy, which means a head injury could be incredibly serious. It was under those conditions that the rowers activated their emergency locator beacon this morning. 

According to reports, a merchant vessel reached them within a few hours, and the duo are now en route back to Australia. A helicopter was standing by to evacuate either of them should immediate medical attention be required. 

Ketchell and Wilson had planned their record-setting attempt for three years before launching their rowing expedition. They chose this time of year for their Indian Ocean crossing as they had hoped it would allow them to avoid the big storms and cyclones that are common at other times of the year. Unfortunately, heavy storms can take place at any time of the year, and they just happened to get caught in one. Their goal had been to reach Port Louis in Mauritius in less than 85 days, 2 hours, and 5 minutes. 

The attempt was also meant to raise funds for a couple of important charities, including Young Epilepsy, the Scouts, and the Elifar Foundation

American Woman Ends Bid to Row Across the Pacific

An American woman has ended her attempt to row solo across the Pacific Ocean just eight days into the attempt. Sonya Baumstein launched her bid back on June 7, departing from Choshi, Japan with the intention of reaching San Francisco, covering a distance of 6000 miles in the process. But last weekend she put out a distress call after her boat experienced several mechanical failures that put the entire journey into jeopardy.

According to a report from the Associated Press, Baumstein began her Pacific row by first experiencing sea sickness. That kept her close to the shore for a few days as she acclimated to her conditions. After that, she was able to find the Kuroshio current, which crosses the Pacific west to east, and would have aided her progress. At that point, all seemed to be going according to plan.

On Saturday, June 13, Sonya sent out a distress signal calling for assistance. At that point she was 250 km (155 miles) from shore. That is about the limit for a Japanese coast guard boat to conduct a rescue, and as she started to have issues with the boat, Baumstein decided it was too dangerous for her, and potential rescuers, to continue.

At some point early on the steering system on her row boat failed, and she was facing a very long journey without precise controls. Furthermore, the weather forecast looked ominous as well, so it seemed that the better part of valor was for her to pull the plug altogether. A passing freighter picked up her distress call and hauled her out of the water, and later handed her over to the coat guard.

As of Monday, Baumstein was on her way back to Japan. There is no word yet on whether or not she'll have another go at the crossing.

It should be noted that a number of reports indicated that Sonya was attempting to become the first woman to row across the Pacific solo, which we all know isn't true. Roz Savage completed that feat back in 2010, although she traveled east to west, and made the crossing in stages along a longer route.

Video: In Current - Rowing the Grand Canyon

This video isn't just about rowing a boat down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. It is also about pursuing a dream. In order to earn a spot on the crew of a dory boat in the Canyon one must first pay their dues. That can take years to accomplish, and requires a great deal of experience. For Amber Shannon, the subject of this short film, it has been a nine year struggle toward achieving her goal of joining the team on the dory. This documentary shares that experience, along with what it is like to explore the Grand Canyon in a small wooden boat. Amazing stuff.

In Current from YETI Coolers on Vimeo.

Two Ocean Rowers to Attempt Record Crossing of the Indian Ocean

Two British adventurers are about to attempt a speed record for rowing across the Indian Ocean. The duo – James Ketchell and Ashley Wilson – plan to set out from Perth, Australia next week with the intention of rowing to Mauritius in just 85 days, covering approximately 3600 miles (5793 km) in the process.

When they do set off on this ocean crossing it will be their second attempt. A few days back they launched their rowboat but experienced technical difficulties with their navigation system and had to be towed back to shore just one day into their speed attempt. That issue has apparently been resolved now, and they hope to return to the water and restart sometime next week, although no specific date for the relaunch has been given just yet.

For Ketchell, this will be his second go at rowing an ocean. He successfully crossed the Atlantic back in 2010, and has a successful summit of Everest in 2011 on his resume as well. In 2013 he also made an unsupported round-the-world cycling journey, covering more than 18,000 miles (28,968 km) along the way.

Wilson, on the other hand, is not quite as an experienced adventurer. He does, however, suffer from epilepsy and is hoping to use this row as a platform to help spread better understanding of the affliction, and inspire others with the same disability to chase their dreams and do great things.

This journey isn't just about the speed record of course. James and Ashely are hoping to raise £100,000 ($156,000) that will be spread amongst three different charities. Those charities include Young Epilepsy, an organization that supports children with the conditions, the Scout Association, which is an outdoor group for kids, and the Elifar Foundation – a nonprofit dedicated to helping people with severe learning disabilities. All worthy causes for sure.

The current record for an Indian Ocean crossing is 85 days, 2 hours, and 5 minutes. Kettle and Wilson will take shifts at the oars for 24 hours per day while out on the water in the hopes of besting that time. Along the way, they'll face unpredictable weather, potentially large storms, and swells that could exceed 4 meters. They are of course hoping for calm conditions to aid them on the crossing, but as always with an ocean rowing journey, their fate is in the hands of nature.

You can follow their progress at the expedition's official website.

New Endurance Boat Race Challenges Competitors to Race to Alaska

We cover a lot of endurance events here on The Adventure Blog, with most of them focusing around running, cycling, or mountain biking along remote trails in beautiful locations. But this summer a completely new, and unique event, will take place in the Pacific Northwest, as the inaugural Race to Alaska prepares to get underway. In this event, competitors won't be traveling on foot or bike however, as they'll instead be challenged to sail, row, or paddle their way along the route.

This 750 mile (1190 km) long event will get underway from Townsend, Washington – located not far from Seattle – on June 4. Participants will proceed up the coast, with the eventual finish line located in Ketchikan, Alaska. Along the way, competitors will face fierce winds, cold conditions, potentially large storms, and turbulent waves. How they deal with those conditions, and exactly which route they take along the way, is completely up to them, as navigational choices will certainly play a role in determining the eventual winner.

There are ten classes of boats that are allowed to compete in the Race to Alaska, none of which are motorized. Those boats include multi-hull sail boats and row boats, kayaks, and even stand-up paddleboards. Exactly which means of transportation will be the best choice remains to be seen, as the sailboats have an edge when the wind is blowing, but if the winds are calm, other vessels may have an opportunity to steal the win.

The first stage of the race, which runs from Townsend to Victoria, Vancouver in Canada, serves as qualifier of sorts. All of the racers must cover that 40 mile distance in 36 hours or less, or they will be disqualified. If they complete this initial challenge however, they'll be allowed to continue on to Ketchikan. There are currently 23 boats competing in the race, which is an impressive turnout for the first running of an event of this type. It'll be interesting to see how the competition unfolds, and who ends up taking home the victory.

I heard about this really unique event from Steve Price, who is one of the competitors on Team Angus. He, along with teammate Colin Angus, will be taking to the water in a specially designed rowboat. Their plan is to take turns at the oars, going 24-hours a day in 2 hour shifts. Since calm weather is expected, the team duo feels like it has a real shot to win the race, even over the sailboats.

We're just a couple of weeks away from the start of this race, and it should certainly be interesting. Good luck to all the competitors, and enjoy the journey.

Ocean Rower Anne Quéméré to Challenge Northwest Passage Once Again

Ocean rower Anne Quéméré has announced that she is returning to the Arctic Ocean once again this summer in an attempt to complete the very difficult journey across the Northwest Passage by kayak. Last year, bad weather thwarted her efforts, but she has vowed to go back and finish what she started by covering the entire 3000 km (1864 miles) over a three month period. 

That 2014 expedition to the Passage proved to be an eye-opener for the veteran adventurer. She discovered that it was not as easy as she thought it would be to pass through the ice-choked waters found north of Canada. The weather was surprisingly bad all season long too, with high winds and heavy seas making it difficult to make any kind of progress. She also traveled solo on that journey, and unarmed. Two things that she'll rectify this time out. 

This year, Quéméré will have a companion joining her on the expedition. A Swiss scientist by the name of Raphael Domjan will accompany the her across the passage, and while she will be paddling her kayak, he will be following along in a second boat powered by a small electric motor that will match her pace. Domjan will spend his time in the Passage taking notes and environmental readings as he makes observations about the impact of climate change on the Arctic Ocean. 

Since the duo will be kayaking, they will stop and camp on shore most nights. That means they'll run the risk of encountering a polar bear, a creature that Quéméré had a few brushes with last year as well. This time out, they'll go armed with shotguns to scare the bears away. Massive and powerful, a hungry polar bear can be a real threat to a person in the arctic, and Anne and Raphael will not underestimate that threat in 2015. 

No stranger to oceanborn adventures, Quéméré has successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a rowboat in the past, and even crossed the Pacific in a prototype boat using a kite for propulsion, spending 78 days at seas. She has also kayaked in the ice waters off Greenland, and has last year's experience in the Northwest Passage to her credit as well. 

The two will set out for Tuktoyaktuk in Canada in June, with the crossing starting shortly there after. 

London2London Via The World Update: Sarah Arrives in New York City, Atlantic Ocean Lies Ahead

It has once again been far too long since we checked in on Sarah Outen, the British adventurer who has been making her way around the planet completely under her own power. Since my last update on her progress, she has completed a six-month long cycling journey across Canada and the U.S. – much of it in winter – and is now preparing for the final stage of her journey, a crossing of the Atlantic by rowboat.

You may recall that Sarah launched her London2London via the World expedition four years ago by first paddling down the River Thames in London, and then across the English Channel to France. From there, she then proceeded to ride her bike across Europe and Asia, encountering many interesting people and adventures along the way. Eventually she arrived in Japan where she intended to cross the North Pacific by rowboat. That was back in the summer of 2012, and soon after she embarked on that ocean crossing she encountered a nasty storm that damaged her boat, and sent her back to shore. Undaunted, Sarah returned a year later and rowed from Japan to the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. Then, last year she kayaked through the islands to the Alaskan mainland, where she returned to her bike for a long ride across North America.

On March 15, Sarah rode her bike into New York City, essentially wrapping up the final cycling portion of her journey. She will eventually tack on another 400 miles (643 km) to the ride when she heads for Cape Cod in a few weeks, but for now she is enjoying some time in NYC, where she has been catching up with old friends, making new ones, and starting to prepare for the next stage of her grueling journey.

In May, Sarah will set out across the North Atlantic in her rowboat. The plan is to cross the ocean and row back up the Thames, passing under the London Bridge, which was her official starting point those many long months ago. If everything goes as planned, the Atlantic crossing should take roughly 4-5 months to complete, putting her back home in London sometime in the fall of this year.

While the journey has taken longer than Sarah had anticipated, it has been quite the experience and challenge. Circumnavigating the globe completely under her own power is an impressive accomplishment, and now just the Atlantic Ocean stands in the way of her achieving that goal. Outen is no stranger to ocean rowing however. In addition to having rowed across the North Pacific, back in 2009 she also rowed solo across the Indian Ocean as well. When she launches her Atlantic crossing in May, it'll feel like old times I'm sure, although this time she's heading home.

Over the next few weeks, Sarah will be dealing with logistical issues, resting, and getting her boat ready for launch. The weather needs to improve and stabilize before she begins rowing the Atlantic, but by mid-May or so she should be about ready to go. There are still thousands of miles of ocean ahead of her, but London is calling and the journey is nearing an end at long last.

Expedition 720 Degrees: Circumnavigating the Globe East to West, and Pole to Pole

An ambitious new expedition is about to get underway in the next few weeks that if successful, will set a new standard for human powered journeys around our planet. Adventurer Angelo Wilkie-Page is  about to attempt a double-circumnavigation of the globe, first going east to west, and then north to south. He has dubbed this amazing endeavor Expedition 720 Degrees, as he'll not only pass through all lines of longitude in his travels, but latitude as well.

The 29-year old South African will start his journey in Los Angeles in just a couple of weeks, and he'll first head north by bike across the U.S. and Canada, before arriving in Anchorage, Alaska. From there. From there, he'll travel by sea kayak across the Bering Strait, then ride his bike once again across Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Monaco, France, and Spain, before eventually arriving in Lisbon, Portugal. On the third leg of the journey, Angelo will row across the Atlantic Ocean from Portugal to Brazil, where he'll then ride out of Rio toward the southernmost tip of South America, before turning back north toward his starting point in L.A. When he reaches that point, he'll then be halfway finished with the expedition.

The next phase of the journey will start in New York City, with Angelo traveling north into Canada, and eventually on to the North Pole, before turning back south and arriving in Norway. This stage will be completed by bike, rowboat, and on foot, as the South African attempts to complete the very difficult task of reaching 90ºN under his own power. Once he has reached Norway, he will then cycle across Europe and Asia, turning south into Thailand, where he'll once again start rowing through Malaysia, past Australia, and eventually ending in New Zealand. From there, he intends to hop across the Southern Ocean, and begin a traverse of the Antarctic via the South Pole. When he has completed that arduous leg, he'll cross over into Ushuaia, Argentina, and ride his bike back to New York City, completing the final leg of his journey.

Angelo estimates that he'll cross through 48 countries on this expedition, covering a total distance of 115,000 km (71,457 miles) along the way. He'll row or paddle across four oceans, and nine seas, while also crossing six deserts, including the five largest in the world. Along the way, he hopes to set a new record for east-west circumnavigation, and become the first person to complete a Pole to Pole circumnav that crosses four antipodal points and four Equator crossings. He also is looking to become the fist to complete both circumnavigation attempts under his own power, and set a record for the most distance covered along the way too.

At the moment, Wilkie-Page is getting ready to launch the expedition, and will be in the U.S. soon to start his amazing journey. While he is of course looking forward to the adventure, he is also making this attempt for a cause as well. Angelo hopes to raise $1 million for Heifer International, a nonprofit looking to stamp out poverty and hunger in developing nations around the world.

You can follow Angelo's progress on his website and Facebook page. This will certainly be one incredibly undertaking. Good luck!

Great Pacific Race Update: Rowers Arriving in Hawaii

It has been a few weeks since I last posted about the Great Pacific Race, and over that period of time, the crews aboard their boats have been making steady progress towards the finish line in Hawaii. In fact, the first teams began arriving there last week, becoming the first to complete the inaugural edition of the race, which promises to become one of the most challenging endurance events on the planet moving forward.

For those who haven't been following along with the race, it began back on June 7, with 13 teams setting out from Monterey, California for Honolulu, Hawaii. Ahead of them sat 2400 mile (3862 km) of open ocean, with choppy seas, big swells, and difficult storms to overcome. A few of the entrants didn't make it very far, dropping out of the race while just a few days in, but others have pressed forward. Now, nearly 50 days into the race, two boats have come home, a third should arrive today, and the remaining rowers continue pressing on.

Last Tuesday, the first team reached finish line when the four-man crew known as Uniting Nations arrived in Hawaii after 43 days on the water. Two days later, the second team, named Battleborn, also wrapped up their row. That squad, which is also a four-person crew, arrived on July 24. The third team, Noman Is An Island, is expected to arrive sometime today.

That leaves five teams still out on the water, with most expected to arrive over the next few weeks. All of them are making great progress towards their goal, although on solo rower, Elsa Hammond, seems to be struggling to get her boat out into the ocean currents that will help carry her to Hawaii. She is far behind the others, and will undoubtedly be the last rower to reach the finish line.

Considering that this is the first ever GPR, it seems that the race has been a remarkable success so far. Despite a rocky start due to some poor weather, the crews have made excellent progress crossing the Pacific. This bodes well for future editions of the race, which looks to be the Pacific's version of the Talisker Atlantic Challenge. While there are no plans to hold the event again next year, race organizers are already gearing up for another edition to take place in 2016.

Congratulations to everyone who has already finished their Great Pacific Race, and good luck to those still out on the water.