Ocean Signal-backed athlete will attempt the world-record row from Japan to San Francisco in April 2019
Award-winning naval architect Jim Antrim is designing a new cutting-edge ocean rowing boat for a groundbreaking North Pacific row attempt next year.
Renowned in the industry for his leading-edge vessel designs and diverse portfolio, Antrim is working with experienced and talented solo rower Lia Ditton to develop the boat for her world record-breaking bid to become the first woman and only the third person to row solo across possibly the wildest stretch of ocean in the world.
The new boat by Antrim Designs will be lighter, faster and, perhaps most importantly, safer than Ditton’s existing training boat. It will be easier to propel through the water, less likely to be severely damaged in the event of a capsize and capable of withstanding the tough conditions expected during the 5000-nautical mile crossing from Japan to San Francisco, scheduled to start in April 2019.
With safety a primary concern, Ditton is also supported by safety at sea specialist Ocean Signal as the Project Safety Sponsor. The Ocean Signal equipment. which will be secured to the interior of the boat or carried by Ditton to help reduce the risk as much as possible, includes two rescueME PLB1 Personal Locator Beacons, a SafeSea E100G EPIRB Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, a SafeSeaV100 VHF handheld radio and a rescueME EDF1 Electronic Distress Flare,
Based in El Sobrante in California, Antrim has designed a huge variety of boats, including raceboats, cruisers, rowboats and electric boats, many of them record-setters. One of his custom-made vessels, Orca, holds a Guinness World Record for the first multihull to successfully row across an ocean and set new records for most miles rowed in 24 hours.
Ditton’s collaboration with Antrim Designs has already yielded successful results after Antrim designed a new carbon rudder, built last year by US foil builder Larry Tuttle, for her existing boat. The new rudder resulted in a remarkable 30% increase in boat speed, which could mean a month less time at sea on next year’s epic voyage.
Jim Antrim said: “I am really excited to be designing a new boat for Lia Ditton in her quest to be the first woman, and third human, to row the North Pacific solo. It’s a project loaded with unique challenges, bold adventure, woman against nature, or rather working with it. It’s life on the edge. I love this stuff!
“After more than 45 years designing boats I have a pretty good sense of what projects have legs. Lia is an excellent speaker: very personable, witty, and engaging, good at self-promotion; and she has the experience to back it up. Lia is organized and goal oriented. She is approaching this row like a professional athlete – training hard, and surrounding herself with a team of skilled advisors. Finally, she is tenacious and driven to succeed. Success in ocean rowing has a lot to do with perseverance. Face the obstacles and keep going. Make no mistake: this is a tough challenge. Many have tried and failed. But I feel confident that one day I will be greeting Lia as she rows under the Golden Gate Bridge, at the end of her long voyage. It’s going to happen!”
Licensed captain Ditton, 36, has more than 150,000 nautical miles of experience and has competed in some of the world’s most challenging ocean races. She was the only woman to complete the OSTAR 2005 single-handed transatlantic race; finished second in the Route du Rhum, France’s most-prestigious, single-handed transatlantic race; captained the boat from the film Waterworld; become the 53rd woman to row the Atlantic and the 64th woman to row any ocean, and project managed the largest solar-powered boat in the world.
Ditton, who announced the new partnership in her latest blog, said: “Antrim Designs was a natural first choice, so I am delighted to be working with Jim. My first solo transatlantic race was in a 35ft trimaran in 2005, after which I took an Antrim 40 trimaran 1,000 miles up the coast of the US from Florida. During the delivery, I gained first-hand experience that Antrim designs were both solid and safe, as well as incredibly fast – a rare combination. In the same boat, I raced the Black Dog Dash double-handed, which remains one of the best days of racing of my life!”
Ocean Signal Sales and Marketing Manager James Hewitt added: “We are really excited to hear that Lia’s ground-breaking attempt will now be backed by such as well-known name from the world of design. The improved capabilities and features of the new boat will make the voyage much safer for Lia and reduce the probability that she will actually have to contact rescue services using one of the Ocean Signal devices! However, we are really pleased that our products will give her the further reassurance she needs when she is thousands of miles from land that she can reach the rescue authorities at the press of a button. We wish her good luck with all her preparations.”
For more information on Lia Ditton, go to www.rowliarow.com follow Lia on Twitter @RowLiaRow or Facebook at www.facebook.com/rowliarow. To support the RowLiaRow crowdfunding campaign, go to www.patreon.com/RowLiaRow.