FAQ

Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions.  If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to ask them via the form on the contact us page or give us a call.

What about the bathroom?

The bathroom on ocean rowing boats is slightly more al-fresco than en-suite. Having a shower is done on deck with a waterbottle. The toilet is more of a bucket and chuck-it construction.

I suffer from motion / sea sickness will I be okay?

Most ocean rowers feel a bit queasy for the first few days of an ocean row.  As their bodies adapt to the conditions these feels subside.  Anti-sea sickness medication generally helps to reduce the effects of motion sickness but isn't generally required after the first few days of being at sea.  The motion of an ocean rowing boat is very different to being on a bigger vessel, you're also outdoors and close to the water for most of the time so many people who have previously suffered from motion sickness on other larger boats don't suffer as badly (especially when outside) on an ocean row boat.  The mandatory training period prior to the start of the race also provides an ideal opportunity to see how badly you are affected and find the right medication for you.  If you don't get seasick when swimming or surfing you should be fine on an ocean rowing boat.

Why row an ocean? Surely it’s easier to sail?

Rowing an ocean is very different from sailing.   Every mile you make towards Hawaii is because of the effort that you put into moving the boat.  Because you're moving slower than a sailing boat and closer to the water you get to see things that you'd never experience otherwise.  It's the difference between driving across America and walking across it.  You really get to experience the ocean in all it's beauty.  There is also a great opportunity to set and break several World Records.  The challenge is not in the completion of the passage but in the way it is done.  Spending that amount of time at sea in relative isolation often brings rowers back to land as changed people.  Every successful ocean rower says that the experience has a long lasting positive impact on their life afterwards.

We guarantee that after you complete the Great Pacific Race you won't be able to look at a globe in the same way again.

What about food?

The most important thing about a nutrition plan for an ocean row is that there is a lot of it.  Rowers generally burn more calories than they can consume so minimizing this deficit is important. The majority of food on board  is freeze dried meals.  The meals are lightweight, easy to store, packed with calories and simple to prepare with just the addition of boiling water required.  Meals are supplemented with snack packs filled with treats such as chocolate bars, dried fruit and nuts and beef jerky.  Even with all this food most ocean rowers loose at least 10lbs during their row across the Pacific.

What about drinking water?

Each boat has a small water maker or desalination unit installed on it.  This device uses electricity from the solar panels to force seawater through a fine membrane.  This removes the salt from the water and makes it drinkable.  Mandatory kit lists also require each crew to have a hand-powered version in case the main unit is damaged.  As a final backup each boat will have several gallons of freshwater stored under the deck which is also used as ballast to keep the boat stable.

What happens if something goes wrong?

Safety of our race entrants is our primary concern.  The best way to cope with an emergency is to avoid being in one in the first place through thorough preparation and planning.  However, accidents will happen and so we ensure that each crew member is trained so that they are fully prepared in the case of an emergency.  The Race Rules stipulate that each entrant must pass a number of courses to ensure they are prepared for the navigational and technical aspects of rowing an ocean.  We also run a series of workshops and seminars to allow entrants to learn from the mistakes of others so that every crew is completely ready for any likely problem.  Each boat also carries a number of pieces of equipment that can be used to cope with an emergency situation including:

  • Tracking device - Every crew will have a tracking device fitted.  This sends the latest position of each crew to the race website every hour or so but also can be activated remotely to provide more regular position updates ensuring that you crew can be found quickly if the need arises.
  • EPIRB - Emergency Positioning Indicating Rescue Beacon - is a small but powerful beacon, which helps rescuers locate you in an emergency situation.  Once activated the beacon transmits a distress alert to the Search and Rescue (SAR) authorities via satellite.
  • Flares - Can be handheld or parachute and are used to help avoid a collision (white flares) or indicate distress and aid locating those in need (red flares)
  • Liferaft
  • Lifejackets
  • Medical kit
  • As part of your race entry fee each race entrant will receive access to a 24 hour medical consultancy telephone service to advise in any medical emergency situation.

The support yachts that follow the crews are also able to provide assistance to crews in non-emergency situations (e.g. additional freshwater if a watermaker breaks, spare oars if oars break etc)

How can I afford to pay for it?

The vast majority of crews who decide to row the Pacific manage to find some sponsorship to cover many of the costs they incur in the run up to and during the race.  On average crews find sponsorship for over 50% of the total cost of the trip.  Often crews find sponsors to help them by supplying them with products or services or by cash sponsorship in return for their logo on the boat and website, benefiting from the media interest in your race entry, naming the boat and general involvement in your campaign etc.

Don't forget that you can also sell the boat after completing the row. New Ocean Wave offers a brokerage service to all race entrants to help sell their boats after the event to the next race entrants.  Also all race entrants benefit from a series of exclusive discounts from our partner companies saving thousands of dollars on the cost of an ocean rowing crossing.

How fit / young do I have to be?

Ocean rowing is equally about physical fitness and mental toughness as well as how prepared you are.   Of course every training session you do before the Great Pacific Race makes your row easier.   As ocean rowing isn't a weight bearing sport, several competitors are perhaps older than you might expect.  The oldest ocean rower is Thomas Butscher who was 67 when he rowed and many ocean rowers have been over 50 when they started.   The youngest ocean rower to date is Eoin Hartwright who was 17 when he and his crew started.

I’ve never rowed before, could I row the Pacific?

Ocean Row Boats are not like the crew or row boats you've seen on rivers and lakes they are much wider and much more stable so technique is less important.  Anyone with minimal training can move an ocean row boat fairly well.  Most of those who participated in the Great Pacific Race 2014 had no rowing experience before deciding to row the Pacific.  Of course after a crew enters the Great Pacific Race they take time to train in their boats and on rowing machines to maximize their chances of being as fast as possible.

With good preparation, planning and training it is entirely possible for anyone, with any level of previous experience, to row an ocean.

How much does it cost?

This is a big question and it is difficult to give a definitive answer to.  In short...it depends

New boat prices including all fixed equipment range between £45,000 and £70,000 ($70,000 and $109,000) or more depending on the manufacturer / design, material the boat is constructed from and cost of the fixed equipment included.   On top of this you will need to buy several items of portable equipment including liferaft, lifejacket, first aid kit, handhelf VHF radio, EPIRB, waterproof jacket etc.  This can add between £10,000 and £15,000 ($15,000 to $24,000) if it's all brand new but some high cost items can also be rented to help reduce total costs.

Second hand boats are sometimes available and on average a boat that has been used a couple of times before would be on the market for between £15,000 and £45,000 ($24,000 and $70,000).  Most boats will need some remedial work before they are ready to enter the Great Pacific Race but used boats often come supplied with many of the portable items of equipment that have to be bought with a new boat.  They may need to be mended or replaced but it can be a much cheaper way to get hold of a boat.

Whether you buy a new or a second hand boat remember that there will always be someone wanting to buy a second hand boat in good condition so look after her and there is no reason why you won't be able to sell your boat after completing the race...that is unless you want to row the Pacific again in 2018.

Chartering a boat.  New Ocean Wave work with our sister company, New Ocean Wave Charters Ltd to offer four man ocean row boats for charter - Team Uniting Nations who won the 2014 Great Pacific Race were the first team to take advantage of this unique opportunity.  This includes use of the boat and all equipment which is in A1 condition for the 9 months prior to the race start, it also includes shipping the boat to the start and back from the finish and the race entry fee.  All you need to do is turn up to the start having completed all the required courses, supply your food for the trip and that's it.  The total cost for this opportunity is £58,000 in total (That's just £14,500 per person).  For more information and to discuss this fantastic offer get in contact with us.  With an additional investment it is even possible to part own one of these charter boats which will be rented to other crews in future races eventually paying you back your investment and allowing you to row the Pacific for free.  Again please get in touch to discuss this limited offer in more detail.

Other costs - Depending on the boat charter / ownership opportunity that you have chosen, there will be some more minor addition costs including the race entry fee, food, courses, transport of the boat to the start and from the finish and flights, transfers and accommodation. For those who buy boats, and after the race, when your boat is sold, you could expect the average cost of taking part in the Great Pacific Race to be between £10,000 - £16,000 ($16,000 - $25,000) per person. It is entirely possible that this amount can be raised through corporate sponsorship and smaller fundraising events such as a launch dinners or sponsored training events.

Next…learn more about the Race Rules of the Great Pacific Race.

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