Row Pacific 2019 Updates

This page has been posting updates, from Charlie Martell and the Row Pacific 2019 Challenge, that Leadership Challenges is proud to support. The image below shows the planned route from Japan to the USA.

CM Route - tweeted by @tc_thrane.jpg

MAY 28, 2019

Sad news we’re afraid from Japan, and Charlie has issued this statement today.

“Late on Sunday 26th May, I managed to sustain an injury to my left shoulder.

I knew immediately that it was a serious enough injury to have to make a call to my expedition doctor back in the UK, to gain his assessment. The doctor gave medical advice, which included taking some painkillers and resting up for a while.

Having taken the advice, I rested and used this time to assess my situation. I was going well, Blossom was performing admirably. Together we had covered significant mileage in a short space of time, but... I was just a few days into what would be a 5-6 month voyage (more than 5,000 miles still to go), where two fully working arms and shoulders are an absolute must.

Having assessed my situation, the incredibly difficult decision to call an end to “Row Pacific 2019” was made. My shore support team put into action our extraction plan, which involved the Japan Coastguard. The Coastguard despatched the vessel ‘Kurikoma’ to my position and extracted me from Blossom. Unfortunately, the Coastguard were unable to recover Blossom.

I am now back on Japanese soil and we are busying ourselves with how to recover Blossom.

 The support I have received from my sponsors, you my followers and supporters, family and friends has been incredible and I am deeply disappointed that this, my second attempt to achieve something extraordinary, has been brought to such an early end. 

 A more detailed statement will follow in due course.”

Japanese Coastguard Patrol vessel ‘Kurikoma’ approaching Charlie’s position

Japanese Coastguard Patrol vessel ‘Kurikoma’ approaching Charlie’s position

MAY 26, 2019 - DAY FOUR

Charlie is reporting lumpy seas and a lot of wind as he continues to head NE. This morning he was passed by this 332 metre long container ship coming to the end of its journey from Seattle into Yokohama. It puts into a rather startling contrast Charlie’s boat Blossom, with her overall length of 7 metres.

The Maersk Stralsund

The Maersk Stralsund

MAY 25, 2019 - DAY THREE

Charlie reports his first whale sighting, although was annoyed with himself he didn’t have the video cameras rolling in time, and only just caught it before it dived.

Day 3 - whale PHOTO-2019-05-25-07-06-56.jpg


Sunset over the Pacific Ocean. Charlie has sent this picture as he travels NNE at about 4 knots.

Day 2 - Sunset 250519 PHOTO-2019-05-24-10-51-05.jpg

MAY 24, 2019 - DAY TWO

Using his satellite communications, Charlie sent this tweet to mark his first 24 hours at sea.

DAY 2 TWEET CM IMG_7908.jpg


Six hours after his departure Charlie has reported in, from the edge of the 4G signal area for his mobile. He’s some 19 nautical miles into the journey, rowing in the dark with a number of fishing boats passing him. He was able to send this video message at the end of his first day, before switching over to his satellite equipment to send through future updates.


MAY 23, 2019 - DAY ONE

This great picture of Charlie leaving the marina in Chosi, Japan was taken by the Harbour Master, Takeshi Odashima.

Photo courtesy of Takeshi Odashima

Photo courtesy of Takeshi Odashima

MAY 23, 2019 - DAY ONE

At 07.00 UK time this morning, Charlie Martell departed from Japan and began his epic journey. Follow his progress here, with news as we get it from the Pacific.

Approximately 5,083 miles and 1.9 million oar strokes to go before he will become the first person to row land to land solo across the Pacific Ocean, from west to east.

This photograph was taken from the camera at the marina.

Charlie and Blossom set off from Japan.

Charlie and Blossom set off from Japan.

MAY 22, 2019

In the run-up to Charlie’s departure he received the following messages from Neston Primary School, near Corsham in Wiltshire. They are tracking his journey and will be sending him questions during the expedition - from the animals he sees, the weather he is facing, to ocean pollution. Using his satellite communications we hope that he’ll be able to send back the answers. The Year 5 class emailed Charlie to say:

Stay safe, try your best and don't give up.

Hope you see some amazing sights and interesting (not scary!) animals!

Enjoy your adventure!

Keep rowing - don't give up!

Every row will make a difference!

Hoping a dolphin jumps over the boat for you!

Good luck, you can do it!

Wishing you much luck, strength and courage ahead of your epic journey.

Maple Class at Neston Primary School, sending their messages to Charlie

Maple Class at Neston Primary School, sending their messages to Charlie

MAY 22, 2019

Charlie has now gone through the process of clearing immigration and customs, preparing for his departure once the storm has cleared through.

Charlie, preparing to launch ‘Blossom’.

Charlie, preparing to launch ‘Blossom’.

MAY 21, 2019

Update on the weather from Charlie, in Choshi, Japan - there are still strong winds and lots of rain, as can be see in the image below, but once this storm passes the weather is looking more favourable and should allow him to begin his expedition. Hopefully by the end of this week. More updates soon.


MAY 11, 2019

While Charlie is waiting for the weather to be more favourable, he’s shared his exact start position, for any navigators out there, who want to plot where he is.

Blossom’s exact position in Japan.

Blossom’s exact position in Japan.

MAY 10, 2019

WEATHER DELAY: Over the last 48 hours we have been keeping a really close eye on the weather window which we hoped would be suitable for Charlie to launch into. We were targeting a patch of light winds offering Charlie a 48 hour period to get off the coastline of Japan and into the Kuroshio current. However, in the last couple of days the weather models have converged on a forecast which has the weather systems moving a little faster than forecasted earlier in the week and so instead of 48 hours Charlie would have only had 24 hours to get off the coast before being pushed back by NE winds of up to 20 knots which are too strong for him to row into. There is also a strong storm forecast to arrive in about a week with sustained winds up to 40 knot, gusting winds of more than 50 knots and peak waves exceeding 27ft. Moreover after this storm has passed there will be a reliable period of following wind providing Charlie with a great opportunity to get underway. We can't choose the weather for Charlie for the whole of the row but we can choose what he has to face in the first week or so. Delaying removes the risk of being pushed back before making it to the current, removes the risks posed by this storm arriving in a week and gives Charlie another few days of tinker time to get everything onboard perfect before heading off. 

This message overnight from Japan, could mean a delay in departure of around 7 days. We’ll keep you posted!

The approaching weather front as of May 10, 2019

The approaching weather front as of May 10, 2019

MAY 9, 2019

During Charlie’s preparations for departure today, he sent a text to Chris Evan’s breakfast show which resulted in an interview, live on Virgin Radio - they’ve now promised to follow his journey and speak to him en route. You can play the clip below.

MAY 7, 2019

Charlie is currently heading back out to Japan, to make final preparations. The weather is looking promising for his departure on Friday or Saturday this week, so updates will be posted here as we get them.

APRIL 27, 2019

Japan has begun a Golden holiday to mark the abdication of Emperor Akihito on April 30th. He will be the first Japanese Emperor to do so in over 200 years. Because of this Charlie’s departure may be delayed until after the national holiday ends on May 6th.

APRIL 26, 2019

This is one of the wind models being monitored to decide when it’s safe for Charlie’s departure from Chosi - it shows a good wind strength but it would push him too far South, when he needs to push East with a hint of North.


APRIL 24, 2019

Blossom, Charlie’s boat (pictured above at the top of this page), is ready on the dock side on Japan, but the weather isn’t looking good for the next few days, so Charlie is waiting for the right window to set off. The tracker below shows the exact position of the boat now.

APRIL 23, 2019

St Georges Day, and preparations are progressing well in Chosi in Japan, but departure won’t be tomorrow as Charlie has originally planned.