Woman spends two months at sea in Pacific Solo Row Race

A story of incredible courage, stamina, and at the same time, crushing disappointment.

Elsa Hammond paddled into San Diego this weekend after spending two months by herself at sea.

During her ordeal, she paddled her 25-foot boat more than 1,000 thousand miles–only to fall short of her goal.

Imagine attempting a race from California to Hawaii, not with a motorboat, not with a sailboat but with a rowboat.

Hammond finally reaches land at Shelter Island after spending two months at sea alone rowing. That’s right, rowing.

Her 25-foot boat across a thousand miles of the Pacific Ocean. 

Back in June, the intrepid Brit set off from Monterey, California bound for Hawaii as part of the great Pacific race–the first ever rowing race in the Pacific Ocean. But fierce wind storms and strong currents pushed Hammond off of course. She had to be rescued near the Island of Guadeloupe off Baja Mexico. 

While she didn’t finish the race, she is proud of the thousand miles she rowed alone… not seeing another person for two months… dealing with unbelievably dangerous and deadly conditions. Her worst day at sea? 

“I think the day when two of my oars were several in half and washed away before I could even see where they were going ’cause the sea was so rough,” said Hammond. “And I was continually having freezing cold waves dumped over my head running all down into my wet weather gear. And I was really scared that the boat was about to capsize. It kept going on its side.” 

She looks happy at sea in some of the pictures but there were also some good days at sea for her–like the day she trouble shot and fixed a key component in her satellite phone. 

But this survival story… call it the young woman and the sea–is also a love story. Hammond became engaged to Steve Bullock less than a month before the races start. And when she did, she would call him and tell him about the incredible challenges she was facing at sea. 

Categories: KUSI