Open water rowing is a complex and comprehensive experience. It is probably the best way to get to really know yourself – your limits, your fears, your curiosity, and your aspirations.
From what is known, the parents of rowing across the ocean are Samuelsen & Harbo (from Norway), in 1896 crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 55 days and 13 hours. Their record still stands as the fastest couple rowing West-East, from USA to England, despite numerous attempts. The fastest crossing USA-England was made by a crew of 4 aboard Artemis, in 43 days and 21 hours (2010).
Numerous other independent crossings and organized races in the past 30 years have significantly improved boat design, boat fitting, route planning and rowers’ training. The major routes for ocean crossing are:
- Atlantic West – East (Gulfstream);
- Atlantic East – West (mainland Europe or Canary Islands or Africa to Carribeans or South America) – Trade Winds;
- Pacific East – West (Western USA to Hawaii/ Fiji/ Australia)
- Pacific West – East (Japan to USA)
- Indian Ocean – Australia to South Africa or Mauritius
- Arctic Ocean
Other relevant races or events: Circumnavigation of Britain and the Barcelona to Ibiza NOMAD race.
In 2016 Scott Butler (a fireman from UK) was the first to ever row across the Black Sea, from Burgas (Bulgaria) to Batumi (Georgia), covering 750 nautical miles in 29 days. Scott’s performance was part of a wider project of biking across Europe, rowing the Black Sea and eventually hiking Mount Elbrus. During the crossing, the bad weather kept him on para-anchor for 8 straight days.
Since 2017, Alex Dumbrava, together with other four Romanians are holding the record for the fastest team that ever rowed the Black Sea – 11 days and 6 hours