39-year old Brit, Daryl Farmer from East Grinstead, West Sussex, will set off on a 2,400 mile single-handed row from Monterey in California to Honolulu through one of the most dangerous oceans in the world.
He is competing in the Great Pacific Race, a challenge organised by legendary British rower, Chris Martin, which will see 13 boats in total try and complete the journey in solo, pairs and fours teams.
It’s been called ‘the last great race left on planet Earth’. Twelve people so far have walked on the moon; only four have ever rowed from North America to Hawaii.
Daryl is facing the prospect of up to 90 days or more rowing day and night with short sleep breaks in-between and with only his mascot, ‘Jerry the mouse’ and ‘Wilson’, a football with face (a la Castaway) donated to him by a well meaning friend to give him someone else to talk to. Daryl will mostly be rowing naked as he has been advised that this is the best way to avoid chafing and salt sores.
As a committed ocean conservationist who has protested regularly against shark finning, whaling and the dolphin slaughters in Japan, he has chosen to use the race to raise funds for Earthrace Conservation, and for the Peter Andre Foundation, supporting Cancer Research UK, in memory of his mother who died from kidney cancer in 2012. His boat carries the race number 6 – his mother’s lucky number.
Daryl and ‘Bojangles’ will be at the mercy of notoriously variable Pacific weather and ocean conditions varying from flat calm to huge storms, as well as the potential hazard of meeting much larger cargo vessels, cruise liners and a variety of large marine animals also crossing the Pacific at the same time. Whilst the route will be followed by support boats, should anything go wrong, the nearest help may be several days away.
From Monterey where he is in final preparations for the race, Daryl said, “I’m hoping the biggest challenge was getting to the start line after my boat was held up at US Customs until today. After all that stress, I think I deserve some plain sailing from here to Hawaii. I’m looking forward to getting out on the ocean now and can’t wait to start. I expect to see lots of incredible marine life out there including some sharks with any luck, and whilst I’m definitely expecting the unexpected, I feel very ready to take on the Pacific whatever it decides to throw at me.”
Daryl was inspired to take on this amazing endurance challenge by hearing stories from other adventurers like single-handed rower Roz Savage MBE (who is one of the race organisers), and James Cracknell, OBE.
Rob Hamill from New Zealand, another of the world’s legendary rowers, said: “Doing the race solo is a fantastic endeavour, one that will challenge Darryl to his very core. The success of his campaign will not only depend on his preparation but, more importantly, his ability to cope under the most extreme pressure, to be able to respond accordingly and to have the resolve to carry on no matter what difficulties he might face. And, apart from the self-development aspect that will come with this experience, his purpose in raising funds for Earthrace is admirable.”
Peter Andre, speaking about Daryl’s challenge, said: "I just want to say that I think he is doing an amazing thing by rowing solo across the Pacific Ocean to raise funds for my Foundation and Cancer Research UK. This cause has now become dear to my heart so I support him all the way."
Pete Bethune, founder of Earthrace Conservation and current world powerboat speed record holder for circumnavigating the globe, said: “What Daryl is taking on is jaw-droppingly brave. I not only had a bigger boat with engines, but also three other people. To do this on your own under your own power and through such dangerous waters will be a true test of courage, strength and determination but I have absolutely no doubts that he will be saying ‘aloha’ to everyone very soon in Hawaii”.