Yesterday – Thursday 23rd May – at around 3PM in Japan, Charlie Martell rowed out of Choshi Marina bound for the USA.


This is Charlie’s 2nd attempt to row the North Pacific along the same route I will row next year.

In his first attempt, Charlie departed Choshi, Japan on May 12th 2012 and was picked up 35 days later on June 08th after being tumbled in typhoon Mwar.

His boat was capsized 6 times in 24 hours and a wave punched in the face of his main cabin. Charlie was fortune to be rescued by a passing ship who craned his boat to the deck. Sarah Outen who was also out there during typhoon Mwar, was less fortunate. Sarah was rescued, but her boat was left to drift. Sarah was also attempting to row the North Pacific.

On completion of his row, Charlie will be the 3rd man to row the Pacific – a record I am obviously not in contention for!

Gerard d’Aboville and Emmanuel Coindre (1st and 2nd man to row across) were towed the last 20 and 50 miles respectively, to Ilwaco, Washington and Coos Bay, Oregon. If Charlie can reach the US without needing a tow into port, he will potentially be the 1st person in history to row the Pacific (insert small print: land-to-land) – a record I would rather like to claim myself.

There are a number of factors which may work for or against Charlie in the coming weeks:

Since Charlie’s first attempt, he has got married and is now the father to two small children. The youngest is 1 almost to the day. This could be hugely motivating, but may also affect his decision making when it comes to risk.

Charlie is rowing the same boat and same equipment from his 2012 row. This is the boat Charlie knows well, which counts for a lot, but it’s also a heavy boat and some of his equipment is now available in lighter /faster /better products.

The freaky weather of 2019 so far is forecast to continue. 2019 is an el niño year. This could mean a fast crossing for Charlie, with strong favourable winds… or it could mean severe storms.

Here’s two important things I’ve learned while waiting for Charlie’s departure:

  1. Watch out for public holidays!! This year there was a rare 10-day non-working holiday (April 27 to May 06) for Japanese people because of the annual Golden Week celebration and because of the new emperor’s accession to the throne.
  2. The ideal weather system for departure is on the coat tails of a low-pressure system. This may mean 30 knots of wind, a fast blast for the first few days, but this would take me *boom!* out to the Kuroshio current and off the continental shelf!

Good luck Charlie!

To follow Charlie, check out his tracker –