Emmanuel Coindre capsized 16 times in his attempt to row
solo from Japan to the United States. Rain fell on his sleek
yellow boat for 70 days. He broke a finger.
The 32-year-old Frenchman made landfall here on Tuesday after
129 days — towed behind a charter boat from what the owner said
was a location 20 miles offshore.
Coindre became only the second person to be credited with
successfully rowing across the Pacific from west to east —
joining fellow Frenchman Gerard d'Aboville, whose starting point
in 1991 was the same as Coindre's: Choshi, Japan.
"I am very happy to succeed," the sailing instructor told The
Associated Press. "For the Atlantic you can speak about your
record. For the Pacific you speak of a victory."
Coindre has also made five solo Atlantic crossings.
Still, there will be an asterisk behind Coindre's Pacific
achievement because he didn't row all the way to shore.
"We've been encouraging him for the past week to try to make
landfall," said Kenneth F. Crutchlow, executive director of The
Ocean Rowing Society in London, England.
Crutchlow said that Coindre will go into his organization's
statistics as having completed the journey, with a notation that
he was towed to shore.
Coindre had intended to row to San Francisco. But southerly
winds pushed him toward Oregon, where he claimed success after
passing longitude 140 degrees 40 minutes West. He missed his
destination by about 400 miles, appearing off this town in
The adventurer posted regular updates from his trip on his Web
On Sunday, he included this notation: "I am in a hurry to see my
family and to walk on the firm ground to revive my legs."
During the trip he rowed 15 to 18 hours a day, he ate
freeze-dried pasta, rice dishes and protein bars for energy, and
made his own water with a desalination machine. He shaved once a
week to keep a routine, and prayed twice a day, though he was
never afraid, even when he was capsized by stormy weather.
Though rowing the ocean made him feel alive like nothing else on
Earth, he has no plans to try the North Pacific again.
"I am not a crazy man," he said. "For the North Pacific I think
it's success. I don't want to lose my life. You pass once,
twice, maybe you survived. Maybe seven you stay. I want to
Coindre's vessel, named Jaeger-LeCoultre for the watch maker
that sponsored him, is not your average rowboat.
Made of carbon fiber and fiberglass, it is a little more than 21
feet long and about 5 feet wide, has a covered area for
sleeping, a galley with a skylight, and communications
equipment. The boat has an airfoil on the stern, watertight
compartments and photovoltaic cells for power.
Slim and tan after more than three months at sea, Coindre said
he prepared for the trip by running, riding a bicycle and
working out on a rowing machine.
Wesley Trull, a Coast Guard spokesman in North Bend, said a
charter boat from Coos Bay was sent to meet the rower on
"We have kind of been monitoring him for the last week," Trull
said. "He's been a couple of hundred miles offshore for the last
week. I'm not so sure his progress was moving the way it should,
because of the currents. I don't think he was having a good
Trull said a whale-watching boat, the Miss Linda, ended up
towing the rowboat to land.
Bob Pedro, owner of the Miss Linda, said Coindre spotted Pedro's
boat from about seven miles away and called the Miss Linda on
his radio. Pedro said he picked Coindre up about 20 miles
"He was pretty glad to get onboard," Pedro said. "It was a
Coindre's mother and brother met him at the dock when the Miss
Linda pulled in just after midnight.
Several hours later, Coindre had lunch with them.
His mother, Sylviane Coindre, said of his journey: "The Pacific
Ocean is very dangerous. During his rowing I pray all the days."