Ocean rower reveals revised schedule and bid for the San Francisco to Hawaii record this year before taking on the 5,500nm voyage from Japan to the US in spring 2021
Professional sailor and writer Lia Ditton has announced a revised plan in her mission to become the first person to row solo across the North Pacific.
This April, the London-born rower will attempt a solo crossing from San Francisco to Hawaii, with a new women’s or all-time record in her sights. She will then take on the daunting 5,500nm voyage from Japan to San Francisco, alone and unsupported, in March or April 2021, bidding to succeed where 19 other attempts have failed.
Project Safety Sponsor Ocean Signal is supporting Lia in her new schedule with the expansion of its sponsorship of vital safety equipment. The communication and safety at sea specialist is suppling an extra SafeSeaV100 VHF handheld radio, adding to a comprehensive kit of compact and light equipment that will mitigate risk and provide reliable links to rescue services.
Lia said: “My decision to row the ‘half marathon’ first has taken much time and consideration, but my mission is to succeed. The men’s record from San Francisco to Hawaii of 52 days was set by Rob Eustace in 2014, while the women’s record stands at 99 days, set by Roz Savage in 2008. In Hawaii, I will test my storm setup in the Molokai Channel with a support boat assisting. In the autumn/fall, my boat will ship to Yokohama, Japan arriving for a March/April 2021 attempt on the Japan to San Francisco record. 19 attempts have been made to row the North Pacific from Choshi, Japan, to San Francisco. Only two came close – both men and both towed to land the last 20 and 50 miles respectively.
“My ability to train incrementally is thanks to the wonderful support of Ocean Signal, all my sponsors and my Believers on the crowd-funding platform Patreon. The decision to carry a second V100 was a big decision because of the additional weight, but it is a better product in my opinion than anything else on the market. The charging base with thumb tab for quick release of the radio is unrivalled in ease-of-use even with gloves on and the horizontal mounting option is not only very practical, it also ensures the radio remains in place when the boat rolls. The contacts don’t corrode and the optional emergency battery cartridge I keep in my grab bag also means I know I will have radio communication in case of need.”
Lia completed a 24-day training row from Ilwaco, WA, to San Francisco in September 2019 that took its toll on both her and the boat. During the 728nm row, the 39-year-old was surrounded by sharks for days, approached by two fishing vessels wanting to salvage her boat and had to battle through five days of gale force winds before rowing 40ft breaking seas to cross the Continental Shelf to get to the California coast.
The Ocean Signal equipment secured to the boat or carried by Lia includes two rescueME PLB1 Personal Locator Beacons, a SafeSea E100G EPIRB Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, two V100 radios and a rescueME EDF1 Electronic Distress Flare.
For more information on Lia Ditton, go to www.rowliarow.com, follow Lia on Twitter @RowLiaRow or Facebook at www.facebook.com/rowliarow. To support the RowLiaRow crowdfunding campaign, go to www.patreon.com/RowLiaRow.