The history of the route

The first ocean rowing trip across the Pacific was from East to West by John Fairfax and Sylvia Cook in 1971.  They took an island-hopping route from San Francisco to Hayman Island in Australia via a number of stop offs, allowing them to replenish their freshwater supplies and food reserves.  This mammoth journey took under a year.  In 1976, Patrick Quesnel rowed single-handed from La Push, WA to Hawaii.  He was followed four years later by Peter Bird, also rowing by himself from California and arriving in Hawaii.  It is over this route that the Pacific Rowing Race is to run (exact start and finish ports will be announced shortly). The record for this ocean rowing route from is held by team Uniting Nations (a four man team) who completed the route in 43 days 5 hours and 30 minutes as part of the Great Pacific Race 2014.

The Great Pacific Race

The Great Pacific Race 2014 marked the first event of its kind on the Pacific Ocean, before this no one before had raced across the Pacific in human powered boats like this.  The Great Pacific Race 2016 will continue to build on the success achieved by the first race and we believe that the fastest two man crew could complete the race in as little as 40 days and a four man crew could complete it in around 30 days.

We also understand that not everyone is aiming to break records, but that all are looking for a one-in-a-lifetime experience.  As a guide, we suggest that a four may take between 30-55 days, a pair between 35-80 days.

The most direct route is a little over 2,100 nautical miles (over 2,400 statue miles).  However, all crews will be subject to the same ocean conditions which will push the boats off the optimal course.  This means the actual distance covered by each crew will be longer than the straight line between the start and finish points.  In the 2014 race we found that the shortest distance rowed was 2283nm and the furthest distance was 2495nm rowed.


  1. [...] some very basic questions about ocean rowing in general, and there are also pages dedicated to the history of the route, boats and equipment to be used, what to expect out of the weather, and [...]