Beeden, who completed the 6,100 nautical miles in 209 days, said it was ‘10, 15, 100 times harder than I thought it would be’
A British man has become the first person to row solo across the Pacific Ocean from North America to Australia non-stop. John Beeden arrived in Australia after more than 200 days at sea, and said he had not realised the trip would be so difficult.
He set off from San Francisco in June and expected to take between 140 and 180 days to cover the 6,100 nautical miles to Cairns in north-eastern Australia. Bad weather slowed the 53-year-old down, however, and he eventually reached his destination in 209 days.
Beeden, who is originally from Sheffield but now lives in Canada, had already rowed across the Atlantic. According to his website, he took 53 days to cover 2,600 nautical miles, the second fastest such crossing on record.
“To be the first person to achieve something on this scale is incredible, really. I haven’t processed it yet … I thought I was going to be here mid-October and it was going to be hard work but just like the Atlantic – it wasn’t going to try to kill me. But it tried a few times,” he told reporters after landing.
“It’s been difficult the whole way but, in fairness, that was what I was looking for. I just didn’t realise it was going to be so difficult.
“I did the Atlantic three years ago and, although it was hard work, I found the actual process of doing the 53 days relatively easy, in a sense. It was just hard work. So, I went looking for something more difficult to push me to the edge.
“I have peered right over the edge a number of times.”
He told Sky News that each day on the water presented him with “some massive challenge”. He said the crossing was “10, 15, 100 times harder than I thought it would be”.
He said that the record he set was of less interest to him than the challenge of making it across the ocean.
According to the BBC, his wife Cheryl, who met him in Cairns, said: “He’s an amazing guy. He’s different than a lot of other people. He’ll always fight to get the mile when he’s having a bad day … He’ll always be rowing.
“Always knew he could do it, it just took a lot longer than we expected and just glad that he’s home and safe.
“He says he’s not going to get in another boat for a while, but I am sure in a couple of weeks he’ll be having some other adventure, and I will have to restrain him a little bit.”
She told reporters that her husband’s achievement was incredible, adding that she had been living with it for seven months. But she knew he could do it, she said.