We’ve all put ourselves in an extreme situation at one point or another to test ourselves.
But few people have pushed it as far as to attempt to row an unpowered boat all the way from California to Hawaii.
That’s what Vancouver filmmaker and writer Brenda Robbins is doing, as a part of a four person team competing in the Great Pacific Race, the “biggest, baddest human endurance challenge on the planet.”
Robbins will be shoving off in June – and is training up right now. Last weekend at the Vancouver International Boat show she took a shot at rowing 80-hours straight – a potential world record – as a challenge to steel herself.
“I went for it, I trained hard. I was really doing my best to get my mind to psychologically take me to that place that could go that long. But I beat the record for my class, which is age and gender for 26 hours straight.”
“The achievement of making it across the water I think is less difficult than the achievement of going 80 hours – because when I’m on land whenever I get it in my mind that maybe it’s time to quit – then I can quit.”
“You can get help but the consequences are much greater. It’s dangerous to get picked up by a passing freighter. Or if you have to stop, you might cause problems with your teammates. So you just have to keep going.”
Robbins is teaming up with an international crew of Americans and Kiwis and will be battling it out with other ocean rowboats as they race from Monteray to Waikiki – nearly 3,900 km at the shortest route.
They’ll be living on freeze dried rations… and not getting much sleep.
“You row two hours on and take a two hour break. And then you get back to rowing and you do that 24 hours a day until you get to the other side.”
Along the way, she’s raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society of Canada, in memory of her father who succumbed to the illness in 2013.
Robbins says the voyage at sea could take anywhere from 40-60 days. But despite the tight quarters, long days, wetness and danger, she says she’s ready.
“When I’m out there – they say its 20% physical and 80% psychological. So when you have to just keep going and keep going and put yourself through this really uncomfortable situation – I feel like I did that with my indoor rowing challenge and got a little bit of a taste of it. I’m prepared to do what I have to do to get across the ocean and achieve this dream.”