Sheffield man becomes first person to complete solo row across the Pacific

A Sheffield adventurer has become the first person to complete a non-stop solo row across the Pacific - travelling all the way from America to Australia.

John Beeden on his journey
John Beeden on his journey

John Beeden, aged 53 and originally from Woodseats but now living in Canada with his family, set off from San Francisco at the start of June and finally reached Cairns on December 27.

John said he had been given an ‘incredible’ welcome as he arrived in Australia after 209 days at sea.

The last rower to attempt the crossing was Peter Bird in 1983, who was rescued off the coast of Australia in a storm after 294 days at sea.

John, a former member of Hallamshire Harriers and Sheffield Athletics Club, previously rowed the Atlantic from the Canary islands to Barbados and recorded the second fastest time on record - 53 days.

Writing on his blog, Mr Beeden said he rowed through the night to complete the final part of the challenge and had an emotional reunion with his family before completing the final leg of the journey into the marina at Cairns where members of the public and press were waiting to greet him and hail his achievement.

John said the voyage had taken a great deal out of him and he struggled to get out of his boat once he reached the finish line.

John Beeden rows solo across the Atlantic.

He said: “The welcome from Cairns has been incredible. It’s been frantic from stepping off the boat.

“I did think I would do a Frankie Dettori dismount by hopping over the rail and say that was the ride of a lifetime but as I crouched to jump I could feel my legs starting to give way so I stepped off and nearly fell in the water.”

John’s route took him from continent to continent passing south of Hawaii, through the South Sea Islands, across the Coral Sea and through the Great Barrier Reef, before finally arriving in Cairns.

A handful of other solo crossings have been made in the past, but this is the first to have been done continuously without stops.

John Beeden before setting off on the voyage

His journey covered an estimated 6,500 nautical miles and he spent 4,320 hours at sea, burning around 810,000 calories in the process.

In October, John explained why he was taking on the challenge at the midway point in his journey.

He said: “I don’t think that those of us who have felt the need to climb a mountain or row an ocean have done it, or will do it, because it’s there but because we are here. The quest to prove worthy of an almost inconceivable challenge is our greatest reward.”