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


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 also different.

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 made.

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 English Channel)

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 Coindre.
Best regards


  1983-2004 Ocean Rowing Society

Design by REDTED