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








Kenneth F.Crutchlow




The Ocean Rowing Society (from 2006 - International) was founded in 1983 by Kenneth Frank Crutchlow, with support of an ocean rower Peter Bird.
The reason, or rather a push that urged them to do it, was a letter from a French journalist, asking if there existed a list of British ocean rowers.  He was writing about the row of French Gerard d'Aboville and wondered how to compare it to the achievements of the other ocean rowers. The answer was "No".  There did not exist any source of information for a Frenchman to get it. The world information didn't spread as easy as it does nowadays, especially about such specific activity as rowing oceans by individuals. Thus, the ignition has worked.

The main goal of the Society was and still is to keep record of all attempts to row across the oceans. Now it is impossible even to imagine, what would be happening in the world of ocean rowing, if there were no records  started timely 30 years ago - no statistics with all completed and incomplete  rows, with all attempts and achievements...

In 1983, after almost 90 years since the first ocean row in history, there had been only 32 attempts to row an ocean, and only 14 of them had been successful. And yet it was not easy even then to get complete, full and accurate information about all and each of them, to verify and to classify every row. The Ocean Rowing Society has done it... in the "pre-Internet era" :)  And since then, ORS has been the only body that keeps records of all events in the field of ocean rowing activity. The Ocean Rowing Society Int. is an official adjudicator of ocean rowing records for the Guinness World Records.

It's fair to mention people who made a precious input into the recording of ocean rows. It was D. H. (Nobby) Clarke from Guinness World Records who in 1964 pioneered recording of ocean rows. He handed over to Kenneth Crutchlow all his notes that laid the basis for the statistics. And ocean rowers Geoff Allum and Mike Nestor, who provided ORS with their records and numerous cuttings from press articles, and helped with the compiling of the first list of the statistics.

Behind the lion's share of all the initiatives and activities of the ORS there lies an altruistic enthusiasm, dedication and personal fulfilment of the founder and permanent Head of the Society - Kenneth F.Crutchlow. His involvement in ocean rowing commenced as far back as 1969, when he took the train from NY to Miami on the mission to report the arrival of John Fairfax (the first man to row any ocean solo) for a National British newspaper "Daily Sketch".
He was involved in the next row of John Fairfax and Sylvia Cook across the Pacific (1971), was one of the major sponsors of the  rows of Peter Bird across the Pacific (1980, 1982), worked for "Sector Sports Watches" in organizing further attempts of Peter Bird to row the Pacific from Vladivostok to San Francisco (1993, 1995).


Squadron Leader D.H. Clarke D.F.C., A.F.C.
 ("Nobby" to his friends)


In 1997, at the start of the first ocean rowing race from Canary Islands to Barbados, an American Tom Lynch, - a friend of Kenneth Crutchlow and of then late Peter Bird, - launched the website of ORS - The website has been permanently hosted in California by Dave Sherry from Midnight Engineers, who neither led nor left us even in some difficult periods, when he continued to host the website for a mere "thank you".

In 2000 Tom Lynch, an American Director of ORS, handed over the maintenance of the website to Ukrainian Theodore Rezvoy, who has designed website's current interface and created logo of ORS, placing there a saying in Latin. It expresses the inner moto of this extreme adventure: "Nosce Te Ipsum" - Know Thyself.
Know yourself, test yourself, challenge yourself and succeed - the greatest victory for an individual, that's what all this is about. Since 2000 Theodore Rezvoy has been a permanent webmaster of, except for those times, when he was rowing oceans.


(left to right) Mike Nestor, Kenneth Crutchlow, Tom Lynch, Tatiana Rezvaya,
Richard Bellamy, and Sylvia Cook at the start of the First Transatlantic Rowing Race.
Tenerife, October 1997



In 2001, while Theodore was rowing the Atlantic, his row was monitored by his mother and wife of Kenneth Crutchlow - Tatiana Rezvaya-Crutchlow, who became and still is the Editor-in-Chief of the ORS website.

She is in charge of maintaining and updating the general statistics, as well as compiling its various options, selected by the aspect of the route, category, class, age, gender, country, duration, etc.



The list of
those who need to be credited for maintaining of the website will not be complete without mentioning Nickolay Gonsiorovsky and  Irina Strautman, - our webmasters.
Special thanks to Leven Brown for his continuous support, Peter Hogden,  Chris Martin and Rachel Smith for their valuable assistance, Julian McHardy - for being a Chairman of all Black-Tie Dinners.
There would  be not enough room to name all those who  were kindly sending us pictures of races, start and finish of individuals, and all sort of other ocean rowing events, which are now the core of ORS Int. Photo Album. They are: Vassiliy Galenko, Hillary Bastone, Tiny Little, Diana and Stein Hoff, Hermione Macfarlane, Pedro Ripol,
Brett Sparrow and Scott Wonenberg, Doug Carroll, Dom Mee, George Rock, Ted Martin (Photo Fantasy Antigua), Andrew Collins, Dr John Burde, Richard Bird, Phil Deason, Lee
Benson, Nigel Bailey...
and many-many more


in 1980 Kenneth for the first time used ARGOS satellite beacons to track the row of Peter Bird across the Pacific Ocean from Russian Far East to San Francisco; and hence, after launching the website, ORS became the first to start monitoring and tracking rowers at sea, listing positions, plotting charts and posting them - along with the press articles, news and other information about and from rowers at sea, - making it available to public.

ORS has coordinated dozens of rows of individuals and in 2004 organised the first race with Solos and Four entrees (besides traditional Teams of Two - that had been the only class of entrees in races 1997, 2001 and 2003). It was then, that ORS introduced a convenient   way of tracking numerous boats on one chart on the webpage, by marking them as dots of different colours - the way adopted later by organisers of other races.

ORS has been one of the first contacts in the list of the Coast Guards, when it goes about rescue at sea of independent rowers. It assists by providing/confirming the necessary data, positions, contacts, etc.

It was Kenneth F.Crutchlow , who was the first to organise a resupply of an ocean rower on route (Peter Bird, Pacific Ocean 1983) and then organised and participated in several resupplies of rowers and teams at sea - sailing and flying, or coordinating a meeting with a vessel or even another rowboat.


Taking into account that ocean rowing is not a kind of mass sport/adventure and its few  representatives are scattered around the world , ORS sees as its task to put rowers together, to give them an opportunity to become better acquainted in person.
 It was ORS who organised the first meeting of entries in the 1997 race and in 2002 - meeting with all women-oceanrowers, at the Royal Geographical Society in London; lunches for oceanrowers with representatives of Guinness World Records on the occasions of awarding Guinness certificates to oceanrowers; and later started the tradition of Black Tie Dinners, loved and attended by oceanrowers from different countries and continents


In 2000 ORS  formed a committee of ocean rowers who prepared "guidelines" for those who might themselves want to accept the Challenge of an Ocean Row. There was established a record "Ocean Rowing Blue Riband" which in 2008 was supported by Murano glass figurine of a sea horse -"Blue Riband Trophy of Ocean Rowing", to be presented to the holders of the record "The fastest row across the Atlantic East to West along the "Trade Winds I", - the most popular and rowed route of all in the world oceans.


(left to right) Sylvia Cook, Sean Crowley, Curtis Saville, Geoff Allum, Derek King, Mike Nestor and Kathleen Saville.
 Royal Geographical Society. 1997


It was ORS who in 2003 came up with an idea of organising free seminars, where ocean rowers, coast guard helicopter pilots, psychologists, specialists in survival at sea shared their experience with those who were planning or about to go to sea.



ORS sees as its task to keep alive and honour names of the Past ocean rowers. A number of ocean rowboats related to the pioneers of ocean rowing have been saved from destruction, exhibited at several boatshows and finally presented to the relevant museums and organisations.

In 2003, when Kenneth and Tatiana Crutchlow visited Kilkee (Republic of Ireland) on the first anniversary of tragic loss of the American ocean rower Nenad Belic, they went to the spot where his boat "LUN" was found and laid a wreath upon the sea. By the initiative of Kenneth and local architect Tom Byrn there was conceived, created and a year later inaugurated a monument to Ocean Rowers - the only memorial in the world to those ocean rowers lost at sea.


Joan Bird, mother of Peter Bird at the inauguration of the monument to Ocean Rowers Lost at Sea.
March 22 2003, Dunlicky Castle, Kilkee (Republic of Ireland)

In 1997 ORS initiated ‘Peter Bird Trophy’, a prize for tenacity and perseverance at the annual Dijon Adventure Film Festival. The sculpture was commissioned by ORS to a famous Ukrainian sculptor Michael Reva, and the names of seven ocean rowers lost at sea were engraved on the first seven steps out of 84, of this titanium spiral, "Staircase of Titans".

The same year, ORS initiated a commission (by Sector Sports Watches, sponsors of Peter Bird) to artist Tatiana Rezvaya for portraits of Peter Bird and polar explorer Borg Ousland, which joined the gallery of adventurers an explorers at the Royal Geographical Society. The royalties set a Louis Bird Fund, to support the education of the son of Peter Bird (lost at sea in 1996).


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How often we are taking for granted something, that had already existed and "was there" when we first entered the field. There are some things, the presence of which seems to be so natural, that it never occurs to us there were times when these things just did not exist.

But there has been always somebody behind the scene, somebody who has started, invented, thought through, organised, established, went through ups and downs ...

Remember it next time, when you are thinking of setting or breaking a record in ocean rowing, planning a route or looking for information, browsing the Ocean Rowing Society Int website and its rich database.






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