An American woman has ended her attempt to row solo across the Pacific Ocean just eight days into the attempt. Sonya Baumstein launched her bid back on June 7, departing from Choshi, Japan with the intention of reaching San Francisco, covering a distance of 6000 miles in the process. But last weekend she put out a distress call after her boat experienced several mechanical failures that put the entire journey into jeopardy.
According to a report from the Associated Press, Baumstein began her Pacific row by first experiencing sea sickness. That kept her close to the shore for a few days as she acclimated to her conditions. After that, she was able to find the Kuroshio current, which crosses the Pacific west to east, and would have aided her progress. At that point, all seemed to be going according to plan.
On Saturday, June 13, Sonya sent out a distress signal calling for assistance. At that point she was 250 km (155 miles) from shore. That is about the limit for a Japanese coast guard boat to conduct a rescue, and as she started to have issues with the boat, Baumstein decided it was too dangerous for her, and potential rescuers, to continue.
At some point early on the steering system on her row boat failed, and she was facing a very long journey without precise controls. Furthermore, the weather forecast looked ominous as well, so it seemed that the better part of valor was for her to pull the plug altogether. A passing freighter picked up her distress call and hauled her out of the water, and later handed her over to the coat guard.
As of Monday, Baumstein was on her way back to Japan. There is no word yet on whether or not she’ll have another go at the crossing.
It should be noted that a number of reports indicated that Sonya was attempting to become the first woman to row across the Pacific solo, which we all know isn’t true. Roz Savage completed that feat back in 2010, although she traveled east to west, and made the crossing in stages along a longer route.
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