Girl with guts
What makes a 29-year-old girl from Florida to go on a solo row across the Pacific? Supported only by land-based advisors via satellite phone, with no follow vessel, she will spend 150+ days aboard a 23-foot boat facing 10-meter high waves and winds above 50 knots.
“Rowing and competition were my life”, says Sonya Baumstein. “But after a bad car accident ended my athletic career prematurely in 2004, I had to find a new path. The ocean brought me back to life.”
In 2011, she rowed across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. After that, she kayaked from Washington State to Alaska. In 2013, she paddle-boarded across the Bering Strait. For her, success of an expedition is measured in the number of people who are encouraged to make new discoveries of their own because of it.
An epic journey that benefits science
Her current project is not just a row for the conquest. Along the route, from Choshi in Japan to San Francisco, Sonya will be collecting oceanographic data that will help scientists understand El Nino and climate change. The journey will take up to 180 days and, once on the expedition, Sonya plans to row three hours on, three hours off. If she finishes, she’ll be the first woman to row across the Pacific Ocean and the first American.
Packed with only the necessities
The boat she will use for the crossing took three years to design and during this process Sonya had help from two America’s Cup naval architects. It weighs 350 kilograms loaded up and there is no motor or back-up sail option on board. Its lightness is partly the result of using Divinycell core material for the hull. The mold and design were donated by Carbon Craft in TampaFlorida, and the boat was built and outfitted by SpinDrift Rowing in Port Townsend, Washington.
Onboard the boat are 900 dehydrated meals, 180 drink supplements, an electric desalinator that produces 30 liters of water per hours, 60 liters of backup freshwater and 75 kilograms of scientific equipment.
Sonya is planning to leave around April 15. The exact date depends on the weather and wind conditions.
Is she afraid?
“I’ve never done it, so there is nothing to be afraid of”, says Sonya simply.
We wish her the best of luck!
Read more about Sonya Baumstein and her projects
Read more about her current project, Expedition Pacific
Follow Sonya and Team Epoch on Facebook