The Route

The planned route is from Washington State to Northeast Australia.   As a direct route, the distance is 7,145 statute miles.  Of course, the actual journey will be anything but direct.  However, when the idea to row the Pacific was still just an idea, I thought I would start by looking at previous crossings to determine potential routes.  By looking at what has already been accomplished, I got a better understanding of potential start-stop points, the required time, and typical departure time-frames.  Information regarding the previous routes is courtesy of the Ocean Rowing Society Int.    

You'll notice that I drew the routes in direct lines.  This is mainly because it's virtually impossible to get the actual routes.  However, it does serve to provide some insight on what each rower needed to accomplish each day to complete these journeys, regardless of  any deviation from the direct routes.  Written out in text form, below you can get some better insight into what each rower accomplished.  

Once I had this information, I noticed only one attempted crossing of the entire Pacific Ocean from North America to Australia non-stop.  That attempt was Mr. Peter Bird in 1982 leaving from San Francisco, CA.  He made it nearly the entire way, tantalizingly close, but was rescued off the coast of Australia near the Great Barrier Reef.  I haven't found many details of what exactly happened or why he didn't make landfall in Australia.  However, the Ocean Rowing Society has informed me that it was due to terrible weather conditions while approaching land (explanation below).  Since the Great Barrier Reef is a territory of Australia, the ocean rowing community (and myself), consider Mr. Bird the first man to complete a non-stop Pacific crossing.  Sadly, he was later lost at sea in an attempt to cross the Pacific West to East.    

Going back to the text graphic, you'll notice two lines in red, one for Mr. Bird and the other for Mr. Erden Eruc.  Those two rows most closely match what I will attempt.  By taking their average miles per day, and considering the combined averages of the other rowers, I came upon expecting to accomplish 20-30 miles per day as a worst and best case barometer.  Of course, this will be revised with experimentation in training, boat performance, and my physical capabilities.  With the distance I'm planning and my expected daily performance, the duration for my route should be between 238 days and 357 days at sea, or about 7.8 to 11.7 months.  With this information, I decided upon the design parameter of including enough storage on board for 350 days.  Of course, I'm hoping the actual number will be a little closer to the shorter end of the window.   

This exercise was the genesis of deciding upon the route.  However, I know that as I learn more about ocean currents, wind patterns, boat performance, my physical capabilities, and a slew of additional factors, this route and my expected duration can and likely will change.  But, you have to start somewhere!

Update:  Since this was originally written, I learned of John Beeden from the UK with the same goal of rowing from North America to Australia.  He departed  San Francisco in July 2015 and 209 days later made landfall in Australia, becoming the first person to make landfall between the two continents.  It's quite the accomplishment and I send him my congratulations!  My trip will still go as planned, departing further North from Washington State.  


Information from the Ocean Rowing Society:

On your page you were asking about Peter Bird's row to Australia. As long as the Great Barrier Reef is a territory of Australia, Peter has officially completed his row. As a matter of fact, entering Bismark Sea or Solomon Sea marks the end of the Pacific crossing (though it is a pride of any Pacific E-W ocean rower to make landfall in Australia). If you have seen the film "The Longest Row", you would know that skipper of the yacht that went out to meet Peter insisted on Peter's transfer on board the yacht, because it became too dangerous to go on rowing. Shortly after Peter was picked up, his boat smashed against the reef...
I made a mistake - it was not a yacht that went out to meet Peter Bird, it was an Australian Navy ship, sent by the Navy.  It was very dramatic, the words of Captain were very powerful. He said: "Mister Bird, I am under order to offer you assitance. I must ask for your answer immidiately as I can no longer allow my crew and ship to be in danger".