Statement of Gerard d'Aboville
October 31, 2005
I've already said and written to Emmanuel
Coindre that I think it is futile to speak about records
concerning rows (crossings) made at different eras, with
different technical means (water makers GPS) and for which the
weather conditions (which are the factor determining speed) are
Moreover, for those who would consider in spite of above said
that one can speak about records, I do not regard myself as
holder of a "record to beat".
It is the right of a first to demonstrate that something
considered impossible or something never done before is possible
(who have beaten the record of Lindbergh?), free for the
followers to establish if they want it a time which could be
used as a basis for a record.
I'm saying that it is with complete freedom of spirit which I
answered your request, I maintain the terms of this answer and
it would astonish me that whoever having experience of the sea
can blame them.
At all events, and precisely because I do not adhere to this
concept of record, I think that for finishing line everyone
does what he wants, according to his personal ethic, to the
conditions he faces, to the logistic possibilities, etc...
I answered you being unaware of whereas there is a definition
given in a "ORS guidelines" and I continue to think that my
definition is reasonable, in any case conforms to what I've
For information, when I crossed the Atlantic, I arrived at some
miles (5perhaps) to the West of Ouessant. There a ship of the
French Navy strongly insisted to tow me to Brest. The wind was
Southern and the sea confused. I refused and did a lot of very
hard rowing towards the North-East, until I crossed (24 hours
later) the meridian line of Ouessant which I considered a
finishing line "rigorous" (there, I left the Atlantic to enter
Is this to say that Blyth and Ridgway, which arrived to Ireland,
never crossed the Atlantic? However, would I have considered my
crossing completed when I passed the meridian line of the point
of arrival of Blyth and Ridgway? Of course not! But then, why
would this meridian line of Ouessant, which marks the border
between the English Channel and the Atlantic, be prolonged
towards the South in the Bay of Biscay? etc... etc...
When I crossed the Pacific, I hoped, of course, to arrive at
San-Francisco and to avoid the abrupt coast which lies to the
North. Towards the last third of the course, I was indeed
obliged to understand that it was a dream and at the end, I
deliberately put the course on Columbia River. It is one of the
worst places in the whole world if one leaves a precise channel;
this is why, at the entry to the passes, I accepted a tow from a
ship specially sent. I had decided, and me only, that it was the
good thing to do. After my arrival, there where some people to
reproach me with this decision.
As it is seen, these questions do not have an easy answer. Same
as those questions, always debated, concerning the assistance.
These questions exist precisely because, wanting at all costs to
speak about records, one necessarily creates the need to
establish precise rules where it is impossible.
The truth is that there are crossings, each one having its own
characteristics (departure, arrival, season, weather met,
embarked material, supply...) It is impossible to make something
but to describe them as rigorously as possible, as you make it.
Among these crossings, that of Japan towards North America is
extremely hard, (I know something of it!), and one who makes a
success of it merit the respect. Also, independently of a speech
that I would not divide, transmit my congratulations to Emmanuel