The ORS Int. is the official adjudicator of ocean rowing records for Guinness World Records


Letter from Gerard d'Aboville

Dear Kenneth

You asked me what I think of Emmanuel Coindre's crossing and about the fact that my record has not yet been broken.

First of all you will never hear me talking about records regarding ocean rowing. This is a nonsense.
It is evident that an ocean rowing boat is unable to make real progress against a well established wind.
That is to say: the time spent to cross an ocean will depend mostly on meteorological conditions, or in other words - LUCK!
How can one compare crossings realized with weather conditions obviously different from one row to another?
Who would dare to say that the one, who spent weeks and weeks to fight against a head wind or to survive under sea anchor, would have less merit than a rower, who encountering mostly favorable wind (as I did in 1980), made a fast crossing?
How many times I did think with admiration about Peter Bird, fighting on and on, for weeks and months against head winds in 1993 -94, accomplishing, even if he did not succeed, what I believe has been the highest performance of any ocean rower in history.

Now, to talk of Emmanuel and to appreciate to his credit his performance, one has to insist on the hardship of crossing from USA to Europe.
I do not unconsider merits of those who have succeeded in a trade-winds' crossings but seamen know that on high latitudes it's an another world, especially as soon as summer is over.
Kenneth, tell us how few did succeed on this west to east passage?
How many gave up?
How many lost their lives?
And then compare those figures to those of the trade wind's passage.

Here are my reasons to admire Emmanuel and his challenge.
He is now part of the very exclusive family of those ocean rowers, who did it "the hard way".

Gerard d'Aboville