This is the big question and it's surprisingly difficult to give a simple answer to. A lot depends on the size of the boat you are rowing in. Obviously a four is more expensive in total, but per person works out to be significantly less than a solo. Then it depends on if you rent or buy a boat and whether the boat you buy is used or brand new. Used boats cost on average between £10,000 and £30,000 (~$15,000 to $47,500) depending on the age, size of boat (solo, pair or four), number of previous crossings, material it is build from and amount of equipment included in the sale. New boats cost upwards from £17,700 (~$28,000) but will then need to be kitted out with rowing positions, electrics and some comforts such as a matress to sleep on. The costs for the depends on the price you want to pay and who you want to fit it. With some care and knowledge this fit out can be done by you, saving you a significant amount and giving you the knowledge to mend it at sea if anything should go wrong. Other auxillary equipment (such as liferaft) can be rented to keep the total costs down. Don't forget that once you have finished your row you will then have a used boat to sell onto those entering the Pacific Rowing Race in 2016. An ocean row may cost on average £60k-£70k ($95k - $110k) but then you can sell the boat on afterwards to recoup much of that cost. With this in mind it should be possible to run an ocean rowing four for a net cost of around $16,000 per person. It is entirely possible that this amount can be raised through corporate sponsorship and fundraising events such as a launch dinners or sponsored training events. For more information about calculating the costs required to row the Pacific take a look at our costings page.
Ocean rowing is equally about physical fitness and mental toughness as well as how prepared you are. Of course every training session you can do before starting makes a 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 their row. The youngest ocean rower to date is Rachel Flanders who was 17 before her and her crew started.
All crews who decide to row an ocean 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. By taking part in the race as a crew of two or four you can cut your costs in half or even in four when compared to single handed rowers. Sponsors can assist crews by supplying them with products or services donated to the crew or through cash sponsorship in return for their logo on the boat, website, naming the boat etc. Don't forget that you can sell the boat after completing the row too. 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 as all race entrants benefit from a series of exclusive discounts from our partner companies each of the crews in the race can save thousands of dollars on the cost of an ocean rowing crossing.
The most important thing to us is the safety of our race entrants. 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. Our series of workshops and seminars ensure that every crew is completely ready for any challenge. Each boat will carry a number of pieces of equipment to for use in an emergency.
- 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)
- Medical kit
- Other emergency equipment
- As part of your race entry fee each race entrant will receive an annual membership to Global Rescue. Their medical consultancy services operate a 24 hour telephone service which is second to none and they can also provide emergency medical extraction should it be required.
Each boat will have a watermaker 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.
The most important thing about a nutrition plan for an ocean row is the amount of it. Rowers will be burning more calories than they can consume so minimising this defecit is important. Generally diets will consist mainly of freeze dried meals. They are lightweight, easy to store packed with calories and simple to prepare with just the addition of boiling water. Meals are supplemented with treats such as chocolate bars, dried fruit and nuts and other snacks. Even with all this food most ocean rowers loose at least a stone in weight during their ocean passage.
Rowing an ocean is very different from sailing. Every mile of distance you make between California and Hawaii is made 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.
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 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 think they suffer from motions sickness don't when onboard an ocean rowing boat. If you don't get seasick going swimming or surfing you should be fine on an ocean rowing boat.
It might surprise you to know that ocean rowers haven't had much experience of the sea before they start an ocean rowing campaign. Around half of those who have rowed an ocean haven't been rowers before deciding to row an ocean. Rowing an ocean is very different to rowing on flat water. The movement is similar but the delicate and fine movements required by river and lake rowers don't form any part of ocean rowing. New Ocean Wave is dedicated to helping you plan for your ocean rowing challenge in the best possible way, whatever your level of experience. With good preparation, planning and training it is entirely possible for anyone to row an ocean.
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 tends to be of a bucket and chuck-it construction.