Rowing Routes

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    Matt Mason

    Ocean rowing is limited in the fact that you can only row across your chosen ocean a certain way or route which is purely down to currents and prevailing winds, here are a few of the main and most popular routes. There are of course other less tread routes and you can find a lot of this information on the Ocean Rowing Societies website which logs every ocean crossing, both successful and failures.


    Mid Atlantic (E-W)- Season November to March

    Canaries – Caribbean: Usually starting in Gran Canaria, most rowers aim to land in either in Antigua or Barbados. This is the most popular route (why wouldn’t it be finishing on a Caribbean Island!) with Gran Canaria to Antigua being the Atlantic Campaigns race route.


    Mainland Africa/Europe to Mainland South America(E-W) – Season November to March

    Rowers usually start in either Portugal, Gibralter, Morocco or Senegal and aim to make landfall in Venezuela, French Guiana or Guyana. This is tough in the fact it is a longer row, more miles means more time on the oars, still with the advantages of the African trade winds and currents.


    Mainland Europe to North America(E -W) – Season November to March

    This has not yet been completed, over 4000 miles with the ideal route being Portugal to the US (Miami)


    North Atlantic (W-E) – Season May to August

    North America to the UK or mainland Europe is a very different row to the mid Atlantic due to the colder temperatures and less predictable wind direction. The vast majority of rows on this route leave from Halifax in Canada and aim to land at the Isles of Scilly. Another go to start point is New York with many rowers staying at Liberty Landing Marina opposite the Statue of Liberty.


    Pacific Ocean (W-E) – Season May – August

    The route is Japan to the US, a difficult row with a lot of unsuccessful attempts. A combination of the huge distance, unpredictable winds and currents means this is a tricky one.


    Pacific Ocean (E-W) – Season March – August

    There are 2 options here, most start from California in the US and aim for Hawaii, a distance of 2400nm (This is the Great Pacific race route), or you can row California to Australia one of the small Pacific Islands nearby a whopping 7000nm!!!


    Indian Ocean (E-W) – Season April – August

    Australia (quite an attractive start point!) to Mauritius (an equally attractive finish point!) this is a long row of just under 4000nm with a lot of heat to contend with creating many problems both physically and mechanically on board.

    If you have an eye on a specific route or fancy trying one that has never been done, please share!


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