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Pacific Ocean rowing race set for June

Daryl Farmer, 39, of England, is among the entrants for the debut of a Pacific Ocean rowing race and he has picked up an enthusiastic supporter who is calling on the marine industry to back Farmer.

In 2008, New Zealand adventurer Pete Bethune and his bio-fueled powerboat, Earthrace, set a new world speed record for a powerboat circumnavigating the globe. Now Bethune and Earthrace Conservation, the marine activist organization he set up, are hoping that everyone working in the marine world will join him in supporting Farmer in his attempt to set another world record by rowing single-handed 2,100 nautical miles across the Pacific.

Farmer is among 16 entrants (four solo rowers, including Farmer, four rowing pairs and eight four-rower teams) who are to set off June 7 from California to Hawaii as competitors in the first Great Pacific Race.

Fewer people have rowed solo across the Pacific Ocean than have walked on the moon. The current record for this ocean-rowing route is held by Mick Bird, who rowed it single-handed in 64 days in 1997.

Farmer, rowing under the name “Rowing 4 Reefs,” says he is committed to raising funds for ocean conservation and for the Peter Andre Foundation, supporting Cancer Research U.K.

“In Earthrace we managed 23,497 nautical miles in 60 days, 23 hours, 49 minutes. Believe me, Earthrace was not a comfortable boat to be in, stripped down for speed as she was. However, at least our remarkable Cummins Mercruiser engines did most of the work and I wasn't on my own,” Bethune said in a statement. “Daryl is rowing over 2,000 nautical miles single-handed across one of the most unpredictable and dangerous oceans in the world. That he is doing this to raise awareness of issues that I also feel very strongly about, such as shark finning, ocean acidification and whale and dolphin hunting, only increases my admiration for this crazy Brit.”

Built from a special carbon/Kevlar foam sandwich construction, Farmer’s boat, Bojangles, was built with the Pacific in mind. She is one of the strongest, most proven and sought-after ocean rowing boats in the world, already in the record books as the first and only rowing boat to successfully complete a crossing of the Pacific west to east with its crew of Mick Dawson and Chris Martin (race director, Great Pacific Race) in 2009.

“I’m delighted to have the support of Pete Bethune and the Earthrace team, as well as Peter Andre and the Cancer Research UK team,” Farmer said. “This will be an enormous challenge for me personally, but preparations are going well, I’m race-fit, and so is the boat. I’m passionate about both of the causes I am supporting, and that will keep me rowing even if the going gets rough. I’m looking forward to the start now and am determined to get to the finish successfully in record time.”

Fifteen boats and 38 competitors are taking part in the race, which begins in June this year from Monterey, Calif., with crews from nine countries, including the U.K., United States, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Canada, France and Ireland.

“I remain forever grateful for all the support Earthrace had from amongst the marine community. We would never have achieved what we did without it,” Bethune said. “I am so proud that Daryl’s boat will carry the Earthrace logo out over the oceans once again, and I urge anyone in the marine business that can support him, whether financially through sponsorship or by offering goods and services that will help him with his challenge, to get in touch with him now. It’s an incredible opportunity to be associated with a great adventure, an amazing man and two great causes.”

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