There are many types of coastal rowing. An extreme form of this sport is ocean rowing. Far away from the coast – into the ocean and on towards another continent. The Ocean Rowing Society keeps a record of those trips.
Mind you – we’re talking about rowing 5000-8000 km (3100-5000 miles). It’s not just a weekend or a week’s tour. Ocean rowers have been on the road for months. On their own.
Ocean Rowing Society – International society for all human-power open-water exploration records
The Ocean Rowing Society takes care of ocean rowing statistics since 1983. The records go back to 1895. Many former rowers from around the world contributed to this data. The goal of this society is to catalog and record all crossings.
Here are statistics until 2020:
858 attempts to cross the ocean
544 Successful Crossings
41 rowing boats in 2020
1079 rowers who have successfully crossed
70 of them several times (solo / double or multi-crew teams)
276 tours did not arrive at their destination and
9 rowers died while crossing.
If you look at the records, you will notice that the majority of the crossings were in the last 5-10 years.
Ocean Rowing Society: when did it start?
The record available at the Ocean Rowing Society International shows a large number of attempts from 1895 to the present day. The main routes were the routes from England to the East Coast of the US and the route from Spain to Antigua. We reported about it in a previous blog: The toughest rowing race (in German).
However, these routes have only been “heavily” rowed in the last 10 years. Sponsors launched annual tours – especially Gomera / Antiqua – and looked for rowing crews. Why is that so?
Ocean Rowing : Just a short hype?
Ocean Rowing attracts a lot of athletes – especially extreme sport athletes. And interestingly enough, many of these athletes don’t necessarily come from the rowing community. For them it is an extreme challenge to row across the ocean in a rowing boat for 2-3 months or more. In 2020 and 2021, the participation of German and Swiss crews increased significantly. Of course, logistics have also improved. When you start in Santander or La Gomera it is only little effort to get you or your equipment there.
Most rowing tours are fully financed by local sponsors. As we all have seen a lot of companies like to support extreme athletes.
Even the ecological impact is taken care of. Many boats from previous crews are brought up to date and get reused. This saves costs and improves the availability of these special ships for training.
Nevertheless, a significant financial share remains quite often with the athletes. So a sponsorship test is as important as, taking part in radio and navigation tests and prepare carefully for the event.
Want to learn more? Have a look at the Ocean Rowing Society