Press Release 2009-11-13
Friday 13th November 2009. Two British adventurers complete epic row across North Pacific Ocean from Choshi, Japan, to San Francisco, USA in 189 days, 10 hours and 55 minutes.
Mick Dawson, 45, from Boston, Lincolnshire and Chris Martin, 28, from Chertsey, Surrey, set off from Choshi, Japan on Friday 8th May 2009 at 05:30 GMT. At 08:25 local time (16:25 GMT) Friday 13th November they finally rowed across the finish line, under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, after more than 6 months at sea.
The day began at 7am for the supporters of ‘Bojangles’ as they boarded their boats and headed out to find the crew to guide them safely in to the Bay. Spotting the boat for the first time was an emotional rollercoaster for the friends and family that had travelled all the way from the United Kingdom, and as the boats drew nearer faces broke from anxiety into relief and then excitement as the realisation that they had finally made it dawned on both the crews and their ever increasing number of supporters. The crew were escorted down the Golden Gate Straight by a flotilla of more than a dozen motor and sailing vessels, the Renegade whaleboat from The Embarcadero Rowing Club, three paddle boarders, four helicopters and a light plane. Mont McMillen, Race Director at The Golden Gate Yacht Club, fired a cannon on board Cygnet, their Race Committee boat, to mark the official time as the boat passed underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, initiating a raucous celebration which erupted from the fleet of supporters to mark the end of this incredible voyage.
Once under the Golden Gate Bridge Mick and Chris gleefully accepted a beer offered to them by the crew of the Renegade and then sat back to enjoy the attention as they were towed safely down the channel. They were then released as they entered the marina to allow them to row the final 100 yards to the Golden Gate Yacht Club where in excess of 120 well wishers were clapping and cheering to mark their arrival back to dry land. Mick and Chris were also honoured to be welcomed by three very special dignitaries: The British Consul-General, Julian Evans, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen; The Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, on behalf of the City; And the Commodore of The Golden Gate Yacht Club, Marcus Young who kindly hosted the arrival celebrations.
It was an emotional reunion between the crew and their family and friends, old and new, with none more so that between Mick and his mother Joyce who saw each other for the first time since the tragic death of Mick’s father Derek, just two months into the voyage. Glasses were charged with champagne, or beer in Mick’s case, as toasts and speeches were made and interviews carried out with excited, and somewhat mystified reporters, trying to find out not only what the guys had been through on their tiny 23ft ocean rowing boat over their 6 months at sea, but also what had compelled them to do so in the first place!
The rest of the morning was filled with excited chatter from the crew and their families with their new friends and supporters. This was topped off with a hearty home-cooked meal of steak and eggs kindly prepared for them by Bob Mulhern, General Manager of The Golden Gate Yacht Club. As morning turned into afternoon still more people came down to the club to congratulate the crew after hearing about the endeavour on the news, eager to learn more of the crew’s adventures.
‘Although it’s still sinking in I am ecstatic that Chris and I have achieved such a momentous first and safely navigated across one of the most treacherous stretches of ocean from Asia to San Francisco, rowing in total nearly 7,000 miles. To put the boat alongside the Golden Gate Yacht Club and to receive such an amazing welcome was a dream come true and a perfect conclusion to the project for both of us.’
A special thanks must be said to everyone from the Golden Gate Yacht Club who were kind enough to host the crews arrival along with all of the supporters and volunteers who gave their time and energy to make this a truly historic day and one that will be remembered by the crew and their supporters for evermore.
You can see photos and current media broadcasts covering the arrival at www.goldengateendeavour.com.
The Golden Gate Endeavour is sponsored by Mr Femi Otedola of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd. (www.zenonpetroleumng.com), him! (www.him.uk.com) a research based consultancy (London) where Chris works as a project manager and by the New Fieldwork Agency (www.newfieldwork.com) based in Addlestone, Surrey
Some high resolution photographs can be found on the website but for more information on the project including additional photographs please contact:
+44 (0) 7545 285800
At 05:30 GMT on 8th May 2009 Chris Martin and Mick Dawson set off from Choshi in Japan to row 6,000 mile across the North Pacific Ocean to San Francisco with the aim of becoming the first ocean rowing boat ever to complete the feat.
The ocean rowing boat stands at 23ft long and is made from carbon and Kevlar making it not only exceptionally strong but also amazingly light, the perfect combination for a boat that will be moved by human power alone. In order to be unassisted, the boat will leave Japan with everything needed for the trip; this includes all food and supplies. Power for the water desalinator, communication and video systems is provided by batteries charged by solar panels. The vessel will also be fully kitted out with the most modern safety and emergency equipment.
No strangers to the world of ocean rowing both Mick and Chris have spent their fair share of time on ocean rowing boats. Mick first took to the sport in 2001 when he rowed across the Mid Atlantic from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean with his brother Steve in the Atlantic Rowing Race 2001. He then went on to complete his second Mid Atlantic crossing during the Atlantic Rowing Race 2005 with his rowing partner Andrew Morris. However, sandwiched between these two Atlantic crossings were two solo attempts to cross the North Pacific. The first in 2003 was aborted following major equipment failure forcing a premature return to Japan just two weeks into the voyage, the second in 2004 which ended 109 days, and 4,500 miles out of Japan, when a freak wave capsized and flooded the boat leaving Mick stranded and awaiting rescue on the upturned hull.
Chris started flat water rowing at school in 1993 and quickly learned that he had a talent for the sport. In 1997 he started his international career with the British Rowing Squad and by 2002 had won 6 gold medals in consecutive World Championships. However, not satisfied with his success in the world of competitive rowing, 2005 saw Chris take part in the Atlantic Rowing Race 2005 where he and his rowing boat ‘Pacific Pete’ successfully crossed the Mid Atlantic solo in just 68 days.
As if the row itself was not enough Mick and Chris have also set themselves the task of raising money for two charities, one based in the United Kingdom and one based in Nigera where Mick worked as a Professional Yacht Captain for Mr. Femi Otedola of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited who is also one of the major sponsors of the project. The first is the Hearts of Gold Children’s Hospice. Set up in 2003 this was the first children’s hospice and respite care facility in Nigeria offering essential respite support and palliative care to the increasing number of abandoned and orphaned children suffering from incurable illnesses. The second charity is Hamilton Lodge School for Deaf Children. The school has had a long standing relationship with Mick after they became involved with his last row. Hamilton Lodge School is a Non-Maintained Special School for deaf children with residential facilities, and is situated in Brighton, United Kingdom. They cater for pupils aged between 5 and 18 years old and have a Child Centred Approach to communication using English and BSL.
To find out more about these charities please visit the following websites