U.S. woman sets out to become first to row across Pacific alone

Sun Jun 7, 2015 2:48pm EDT
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By Brendan O'Brien

(Reuters) - An American began a 6,000-mile (9,656-km) voyage on Sunday in Japan, attempting to become the third person and the first woman to cross the Pacific Ocean by herself in a rowboat.

Sonya Baumstein, 30, set out in her carbon and kevlar boat from Choshi Marina, Japan, beginning the four- to six-month odyssey to San Francisco, according to expeditionpacific.com, her support team's website.

"And she's off!!," her team said in a Tweet after she launched.

Despite 16 attempted solo rows across the Pacific, no women and only two men have successfully completed the journey - Frenchmen Gerard d'Aboville in 1991 and Emmanuel Coindre in 2005, according to Ocean Rowing Society records.

Baumstein is traveling in a custom-made 23-foot (7-meter), 660-pound (300-kg) boat without a motor or sail.

"Sonya's not crazy," Andrew Cull, the journey's operation manager, in a May interview with Reuters. [ID:nL1N0XX22M]

"She's driven. Maybe a little bit bullheaded. She gets an idea in her head and will do anything necessary to get it done."

On board, she has 1,200 pounds (544 kg) of freeze-dried food, 180 high-carbohydrate drink supplements and a cache of olive oil that she will consume in hopes of retaining as much weight as possible.   Continued...

Sonya Baumstein sits in her 23-foot (7.01 meter) carbon and kevlar solo rowboat in this handout picture courtesy of Andrew Cull in Port Townsend, Washington April 12, 2015.  REUTERS/Andrew Cull/Handout via Reuters