Kiwi Grant ‘Axe’ Rawlinson to row Tasman solo
Kiwi Grant ‘Axe’ Rawlinson will start the final leg of his 4500km expedition, rowing the Tasman Australia to New Zealand in October. The journey to date included a two man row from Singapore down through the Indonesian Archipalego to Darwin, a cycle the length of Australia and now with the row to go to make home, New Zealand.
Rowing the first leg from Singapore to Australia
Here is Axe's update
In early October I will set-off from Coff’s Harbour in my 6.8m ocean rowing boat ‘Simpson’s Donkey’, bound for New Plymouth in New Zealand on the final stage of the Rowing from Home to Home expedition. I have traveled for 8,100 km this year by human power, all the way from Singapore to Coff’s Harbour in Australia. Stage One was a 78 day, 4,200km row from Singapore to Darwin together with Charlie Smith. Stage Two was a 45 day, 3,900km solo bicycle ride across Australia. This third and final stage of rowing the Tasman Sea will be around 2,500 – 3,000 km in length and will also be the most challenging stage due to the extreme weather and sea conditions I will face.
‘Simpson’s Donkey’ is chomping at the bit to get onto the Tasman. I am confident she is the most well prepared and fastest boat to ever attempt this crossing. No dis-respect to the other teams who have tried – I have just done more preparation.
My initial plan was to row with a partner (Rob Hamill) on the Tasman crossing, however I had a great deal of time to think on my solo cycle leg across the Australian continent. I revelled in being by myself, and found the intensity of the experience and challenge to be richer and more fulfilling when alone. This coupled with my previous 4,500km of experience rowing Simpson’s Donkey, made me come to the conclusion that I would prefer to tackle the final and most challenging section of the entire expedition solo.
In what shows the true quality of the man, Rob although disappointed at the decision, ultimately has been a tower of support and very understanding. He has remained an active member of the team working hard in the background. Seeing the mature way Rob responded to my decision confirmed that had I rowed with a partner – he would have been an ideal choice.
Departure is set for early October, and the exact date will be subject to weather systems closer to the time. I am proud to announce Dr Roger Badham will be the official meteorologist for the Tasman Crossing, providing daily weather information. For those who may not be familiar with Dr Roger, he has spent 10 years at university studying meteorology and the last 40 years as a meteorologist most of that time specialising in forecasting for the marine industry. He has forecast for 9 America s Cups, 7 Olympic games, 30 around the world yacht races and countless yacht races and regattas all around the world, with over 35 Sydney to Hobart race forecasts and more than 500 passages across the Tasman and Coral Seas.
I will be posting more information closer to departure time, however for now I am keeping myself extremely busy by working with various parties on the risk management and emergency response procedures, modifying and servicing Simpson’s Donkey, and preparing myself physically and mentally to take on a very challenging stretch of water in an ocean rowing boat.
A massive thank you to the people who have helped the expedition to get to this third and final stage. Very soon it will once again be time to leave the safety of shore and test myself in mother nature’s ultimate arena.