The ORS Int. is the
official adjudicator of ocean rowing records for Guinness World
Whilst the new race will make new heroes and hopefully break new
records we should not however forget
the man who was the real record breaker and did it first
, son of
late Martin Cowling - a man, who in 1969 sponsored
John Fairfax's Transatlantic row
will be watching with great interest the 2005 race as soon as it
gets underway but will always be reminded of some of the
As much of your copy and statistics confirm it is a
formidable feat to row the Atlantic, regardless of how many people are pulling on the
oars. But it is the solo attempts that we must truly applaud. To
row the 2550 odd nautical miles alone, and against all that the
sea can throw at you is a truly courageous feat of endurance and
determination. Whilst the new race will make new heroes and
hopefully break new records we should not however forget the man
who was the real record breaker and did it first.
John Fairfax became not only the first to
make a solo transatlantic crossing in a row boat but was the
first to do it from East to West.
Unfortunately too many records are usurped by derivatives of
faster times, smaller boats, different routes etc that the
initial achievement gets forgotten.
John Fairfax was the first person to make this solo
crossing. He started on 20 Jan 1969 from the Canary Islands and
landed in Florida 180 days later on 19 July. So
newsworthy was his achievement at the time that he received a
message of congratulations from Neil Armstrong and the crew from
the flight deck of Apollo 11, who earlier that day had walked on
the moon!! He then rowed the Pacific a few years later with his
wife and set another record.
It was my late father Martin Cowling
who sponsored John Fairfax (and even appeared with him on This
is Your Life in c.1972.) In those days it was not big companies
who sponsored these voyages but individuals who had a passion
for breaking records. There was no money to be made and in
relative terms the equipment was as expensive as it is today.
I write to you in the hope that this small part of
history can be reflected on your web site so that the new
competitors and followers alike know the history behind the