Jason is on the 15th leg of his total of 16 to complete the first Human Powered Circumnavigation.
It took a mechanical saw, a planer and a sanding tool to remove the old tracks...
David Robertson of Gig Harbor Boat Works is demonstrating the smooth new system...
Jason Lewis is back on land; my preparations for the Pacific resume...
April 2, 2007
It is great to know that Jason Lewis of Expedition360 is back on land after completing another leg of his uncompromising human powered circumnavigation journey. He and his expedition partner Sher recently used the pedalboat Moksha to cover the distance from Mumbai, India to Djibouti in Africa. Jason is now pedaling his way into Ethiopia to reach Sudan, Egypt, Israel, Syria and eventually Turkey. Please follow Jason Lewis on his blog.
As for the action on the homefront, I am preparing for the Pacific ocean row, busy as ever.
Among all the bicycle paraphernalia, there was a boat on display at the 2007 Seattle Bicycle Expo on March 10-11, and it was an ocean rowing boat! Many of the attendees were familiar with the story of Göran Kropp, and they were pleased to hear about the Six Summits Project dedicated to his memory.
As soon as the Bicycle Expo was over, I took a saw to the boat -- literally! Some destructive work was in order. I was to remove the existing tracks for the sliding seat, and to prepare the deck to receive premolded fiberglass tracks made by Gig Harbor Boat Works. These new tracks are made to receive seats with inline skate wheels which are larger and have rubber surfaces. With this latter setup, the noise while rowing will be gone, and I will have a more efficient rowing system.
This innovative solution by Gig Harbor Boat Works was used by the four-man OAR Northwest team which placed first in the New York - Falmouth race during the summer of 2006. They were so happy and everyone was so impressed by their performance that Woodvale Events, the organizer of the ocean rowing races, ordered 30 new sets of tracks from Gig Harbor. This will now be the standard on future boats, and the old ones will be retrofitted to receive the new tracks.
Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon will host my departure from San Francisco. The London based Ocean Rowing Society in the person of Kenneth Crutchlow has been a great resource. We are now connected with the friends of Peter Bird who had left from San Francisco on his two solo attempts to cross the Pacific.
Peter Bird was a driving force in the early years of ocean rowing. He tried twice to row across the Pacific and on his first try, he made it from San Francisco to Maui in 1981 only to lose his boat there. When a new boat was built, he felt it necessary to start over in San Francisco in the August of 1982. He took 294 days without any stops to reach the Great Barrier Reef on the NE corner of Australia. That is almost ten months alone at sea!
The second solo crossing from North America to Australia was by Mick Bird, no relation to Peter. Mick started in 1997 from Fort Bragg, California and also reached the Great Barrier Reef near Cairns Australia. Mick made two stops at Hawaii, Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands before making the last push toward Australia.
These solo rows followed the lead of John Fairfax and Sylvia Cook who in 1971 left San Francisco to reach Hayman Island of Australia. They also were able to stop at a few islands along the way on their 361 day journey across the Pacific. These valuable historical facts are painstakingly assembled on the statistics page of the Ocean Rowing Society.
It feels good to be following the lead of these pioneers, and to be attempting to cross an ocean that will take twice as long to cross as it did on the Atlantic, if not longer. The mental preparation for the upcoming challenge is immense, and I feel that I will be ready by the time the boat is untied from the dock at the Corinthian Yacht Club. I know that friends will be on the dock to wave me off, just like the day on Feb 1, 2003 when I left for my bicycle ride to Alaska to climb McKinley in memory of Göran. It is the excitement and the unwavering encouragement of such friends old and new, which remain with me through each phase of my journey, to make it all worthwhile.