BRITON, DARYL FARMER, READY FOR START OF 2400 MILE SINGLE-HANDED OCEAN ROW (MOSTLY NAKED) ACROSS PACIFIC TO SUPPORT OCEAN CONSERVATION AND CANCER RESEARCH
Support for Daryl comes from International singer, Peter Andre; New Zealand International rower, Rob Hamill; and Earthrace founder, Pete Bethune
It’s been called ‘the last great race left on planet Earth’. Twelve people so far have walked on the moon; only four have ever rowed from North America to Hawaii.
On Monday 9 June at 1800 BST (10.00 PT), 39-year old Brit, Daryl Farmer from East Grinstead, West Sussex, will set off on a 2,400 mile single-handed row from Monterey in California to Honolulu, Hawaii through one of the most dangerous oceans in the world.
He is competing as ‘Team Rowing4Reefs’ in the Great Pacific Race, a challenge organised by legendary British rower, Chris Martin, which will see 13 boats in total try and complete the journey in solo, pairs and fours teams.
Daryl is facing the prospect of up to 90 days or more rowing day and night with short sleep breaks in-between. The only company he will have will be his mascot, ‘Jerry the mouse’ and ‘Wilson’, a football with face (a la Castaway) donated to him by a well meaning friend to give him someone else to talk to. Daryl will mostly be rowing naked as he has been advised that this is the best way to avoid chafing and salt sores.
Daryl was inspired to take on this amazing endurance challenge by hearing stories from other adventurers like single-handed rower Roz Savage MBE (who is one of the race organisers), and James Cracknell, OBE.
Rob Hamill from New Zealand, who has sent a message of support to Daryl, is another of the world’s legendary rowers who won silver in the World Rowing Championships and competed in the Atlanta Olympics. Rob also set a new world record of forty-onedays, two hours and fifty-five minutes when he won the inaugural Atlantic Rowing Race in 1997 with his partner, Phil Stubbs.
Rob said: “Doing the race solo is a fantastic endeavour, one that will challenge Darryl to his very core. The success of his campaign will not only depend on his preparation but, more importantly, his ability to cope under the most extreme pressure, to be able to respond accordingly and to have the resolve to carry on no matter what difficulties he might face. And, apart from the self-development aspect that will come with this experience, his purpose in raising funds for Earthrace is admirable.”
As a committed ocean conservationist who has protested regularly against shark finning, whaling and the dolphin slaughters in Japan, and who shares many people’s concerns about ocean pollution, he has chosen to use the race to raise funds for marine conservation organisation, Earthrace Conservation.
Pete Bethune, founder of Earthrace Conservation and current world powerboat speed record holder for circumnavigating the globe, said: “What Daryl is taking on is jaw-droppingly brave. I not only had a bigger boat with engines, but also three other people. To do this on your own under your own power and through such dangerous waters will be a true test of courage, strength and determination but I have absolutely no doubts that he will be saying ‘aloha’ to everyone very soon in Hawaii”.
He is also fund-raising for the Peter Andre Foundation, supporting Cancer Research UK, in memory of his mother who died from kidney cancer in 2012. His boat carries the race number 6 – his mother’s lucky number.
International singer, song writer, TV presenter, reality TV star, and New York Coffee Club owner, Peter Andre, whose Foundation will benefit from funds raised by Rowing4Reefs, has even rowed a short distance in ‘Bojangles’ himself.
Serendipity played a part in Daryl and Peter’s mutual support of each other. In 2013, on the first Mother’s Day after losing his mother to kidney cancer, Daryl was in an aquatic supplies shop when the Australian star just happened to walk in. They got talking, Daryl ended up installing his fish tank for him, and the two became friends. So when Peter subsequently set up his foundation in memory of his own brother, Daryl’s choice of charity was clear.
Peter Andre, speaking about Daryl’s challenge, said: “I just want to say that I think he is doing an amazing thing by rowing solo across the Pacific Ocean to raise funds for my Foundation and Cancer Research UK. This cause has now become dear to my heart so I support him all the way.”
Throughout his row, Daryl along with other crews in the race, will be helping Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation by collecting water samples that will be analysed for the presence of microplastics, tiny pieces of plastic debris 5mm or smaller that are a huge source of contamination to marine ecosystems. Sources of microplastics include the plastic beads used in many body and facial scrubs and fibres produced from laundering materials made from synthetics.
Daryl and ‘Bojangles’ will be at the mercy of notoriously variable Pacific weather and ocean conditions varying from flat calm to huge storms, as well as the potential hazard of meeting much larger cargo vessels, cruise liners and a variety of large marine animals also crossing the Pacific at the same time. Whilst the route will be followed by support boats, should anything go wrong, the nearest help may be several days away.
From Monterey where he is in final preparations for the race, Daryl said, “I’m hoping the biggest challenge was getting to the start line after my boat was held up at US Customs until today. After all that stress, I think I deserve some plain sailing from here to Hawaii. I’m looking forward to getting out on the ocean now and can’t wait to start. I expect to see lots of incredible marine life out there including some sharks with any luck, and whilst I’m definitely expecting the unexpected, I feel very ready to take on the Pacific whatever it decides to throw at me.”
Daryl’s boat, ‘Bojangles’, is 24ft x 6ft, made from a special carbon/Kevlar foam sandwich construction and was built with the Pacific in mind. She is one of the strongest, most proven and sought-after ocean rowing boats in the world, already in the record books as the first and only rowing boat to successfully complete a crossing of the Pacific West to East with its crew of Mick Dawson and Chris Martin in 2009
Crews in the Great Pacific Race come from nine different countries including the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Canada, France and Ireland.
The current solo world record for this particular ocean rowing route is held by Mick Bird, who rowed it single-handed in 1997 in a time of 64 days.
The oceans cover over 70% of the earth’s surface and the scale of the problems and issues being faced by marine mammals and the habitats they live in are immense.
We raise funds for marine conservation projects that help protect marine habitats and wildlife. We use direct action and education to make change happen. Everyone at Earthrace is a volunteer and all money raised goes directly towards our work around the world.
About the Peter Andre Foundation
Launched in April 2013, with Cancer Research UK, the Peter Andre Foundation was established as a way for Peter and his family to remember his brother Andrew, who sadly died of cancer in late 2012.
The Peter Andre Foundation aims to raise £500,000 every year to help fund Cancer Research UK’s ‘Cancer Awareness Roadshow’ which gets information about cancer out to people in their own communities
Members of the public can come onboard and speak to Cancer Research UK’s trained cancer awareness nurses about helping them spot cancer early and reducing their risk of the disease
Finding cancer early makes a real difference. Most deaths from cancer are caused by the disease spreading around the body. So if cancer is diagnosed early, before it’s had time to spread or grow too big, it’s nearly always easier to treat successfully.
About Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research
The charity’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.
Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated.
Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates in the UK double in the last forty years.
Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK’s vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.