This isn’t an easy blog for me to write.
I am sorry to say that the YO! Row came end on 31 December 2017.
What hasn’t ended is my intent to row the North Pacific. I own the boat. The training will continue.
When I was in the boatyard taking off the YO! stickers last month, passers-by would say ‘Oh no! Did you lose your sponsor?’ I felt embarrassed and ashamed and it is those feelings that have delayed me from writing this blog.
I took a risk having the boat wrapped 100% in stripes with YO! We wanted to give the impression that the expedition was 100% going ahead. It also gave the impression that the project was fully sponsored, when it was not.
Ultimately that didn’t matter. What defeated me – and this was unforeseeable – was that the companies that entertained the idea of co-sponsoring, didn’t want to partner with a company based in another country.
When I finally realised this, I had another problem…
After the Discovery Channel filmed me in May, the producer shared a clip from the show ‘Survive This’ about Charlie Martell, who attempted to row the Pacific in 2012.
Charlie and his boat were capsized in typhoon Mwar. The cabin face of Charlie’s boat was punched in when his boat was picked up by a wave and dropped upside down.
My boat is her sistership.
Both Gerard d’Aboville and Emmanuel Coindre who successfully crossed in 1991 and 2005 respectively, rowed carbon boats. Gerard capsized, not once but more than 30 times; Emmanuel more than 16 times.
Weight is another issue.
The boat Gerard d’Aboville rowed in 1992, weighed 440 lbs unloaded. My current boat weighs in at 800 lbs – almost double. A heavier boat requires more physical effort to propel and the more time spent at sea, the higher the risk.
I specifically said at the beginning of this project that I didn’t want to design and build a new boat.
I made a mistake.
For the first year I trained in silence. I was afraid I wasn’t enough – strong enough, tough enough or accepting that I wasn’t these things then, that I couldn’t become them in training. I started blogging after I proved myself to myself, in the squall off Berkeley. After that I rowed 15 hours to Bolinas and back and then later down to Half Moon Bay. These were powerful confidence building experiences.
Two people have succeeded in rowing the North Pacific solo. Both were men.
This is a journey to prove equality.
The ocean is the final frontier for discovery and my mission is to explore what it is to be human, a woman and a pioneer. In doing so, I want to spark generations of role models.
I have experience of the ocean and the courage to row her. The hardest part for me isn’t the row, it’s now. Everything I do now affects my chance of success later.
‘This the real expedition,’ I say. ‘The row is the final exam.’
Rowing from the Farallones is next and then 65 miles to, round and back from the Farallones, which will be entered for consideration as a new World Record. My endeavour cannot end here. I have invested 2 years of time and money into this. My sights are set on rowing from Japan in April 2019 in a new design of boat.
For this, I need your help. To bridge the gap while I secure a new sponsor, I need donors. I call them my Believers.
We all need Believers.
If you would like to join my special club of Believers, become a Patreon and get exclusive, behind-the-scenes access and RowLiaRow goodies!!
A huge thank you to all my Believers:
And my Ultimate Believer!