Castaway With Purpose

A documentary film by Around-n-Over

"Life is a gift -- live it!"

Erden Eruç

Greetings Fellow Castaways!

Photo of the Day

The Calderdale. The 24 foot row boat used by Erden to cross 4 oceans.


This is a photo of Erden's 24-foot rowboat, the Calderdale, that he successfully used to cross four oceans and set multiple world records. He holds the record for the longest solo row (312 days on the Pacific). He is the first person to row three major oceans. His total of 28,550 nautical miles rowed are the highest career totals on the world’s oceans. Erden has the most career days at sea (876 in total) alive today. The logo of ocean rowing pioneer Peter Bird has been displayed on Erden’s rowboat since 2007 to honor Peter’s memory. Peter was lost at sea in 1996 on his 937th day.

I like this image because Erden is often asked about the yellow rowboat used to cross the oceans. I can't quite register how big or small 24-feet really is. Is that a car and a half, or twice as high as my ceiling? But seeing her here alongside other boats really puts her size into perspective for me. When I see her like this I realize she is really quite small.

Now imagine being on that boat alone, for days and days on end, in the middle of the ocean.

Her sleeping compartment measures just over 6 feet, similar to a small two-person tent. Imagine being cooped up inside during stormy seas not knowing what is out there. Can you imagine being sound asleep, tuning out thoughts of what lies two miles below in a dark ocean beneath this bobbing cork of a boat?  Knowing there is no land in sight for a thousand miles in any direction, sure gives me chills just thinking about it!

As tiny as she is, this rowboat is equipped with proper safety equipment needed for such a journey.  There are solar panels for charging batteries to run all electronics, including navigation lights, a GPS chartplotter, an Automatic Identification System (AIS), a VHF radio for ship-to-ship communications, a satellite phone and a small palm-sized computer to post dispatches and send emails. Erden’s safety is paramount, so there are also flares, a personal floatation device (PFD) and an inflatable life raft. In case Erden would need to abandon the rowboat, he would also take a grab-bag containing emergency rations, a hand pump desalinator, an immersion suit and other emergency supplies such as flares.

This rowboat was christened as “KAOS” in 2001 by Malcolm Atkison and Ben Martell, both from England. They had received her as a standard laser-cut marine plywood kit from the 2001 Atlantic Rowing Race organizers then stitched and epoxied her together for their race from the Canary Islands to Barbados.

The next owner was the Charles Sykes Epilepsy Research Trust from Calderdale in West Yorkshire, hence her new name “CALDERDALE.” Later in 2004, Sarah and Sally Kettle, a mother-daughter team, also from England, rowed her on the same route and raised £114k for epilepsy research.

Then Erden took over the boat and did not bother renaming her. “The naming rights for the rowboat is available to a willing sponsor,” he says.  He carried on to achieve another  876 days on Calderdale which now makes her a historic rowboat with a total of 1090 days of ocean under her. The fact that she survived all this is simply amazing to me!

If you would like to see her up close, the rowboat is currently housed at the Foss Waterway Seaport Museum in Tacoma, Washington.