Axe Rawlinson’s trans-Tasman rowing epic cut short

Adventurer Grant ‘Axe’ Rawlinson’s attempt to cross the Tasman Sea was cut short on Saturday, September 1 due to equipment failure on board his vessel.

ROUGH CROSSING: Video grab of Grant Rawlinson rowing 4200km across the Java Sea on the first stage of his human -powered journey from Singapore to New Zealand.

ROUGH CROSSING: Video grab of Grant Rawlinson rowing 4200km across the Java Sea on the first stage of his human -powered journey from Singapore to New Zealand.

Mr Rawlinson was in the final stage of his epic journey

The 12,000km expedition began in Singapore. Firstly rowing 4200km across the Java Sea to Darwin followed by a 4000km bike ride through remote Australia to the east coast.

Mr Rawlinson set out from Eden towards New Zealand on Thursday, August 30.

After capsizing three times in four hours on Saturday morning, Mr Rawlinson deployed the parachute anchor, but unfortunately the bow attachment snapped off. He said the parachute anchor was critical to hold the vessel steady in the worst storm conditions. 

By day four, in ongoing communication with his support team the decision was made to abort the attempt and return to mainland Australia while things were still under control.

Mr Rawlinson said it was a tough call considering his determination.

“Without the anchor it was beyond the limits of our risk management plan to continue,” he said. 

The initial plan to row back to the mainland using favourable winds and current systems was also abandoned after strong gale force winds were forecast and without the anchor the decision was made to evacuate. 

In a “non-critical” rescue situation a Toll Search and Rescue helicopter winched Mr Rawlinson from the sea while an AMSA Challenger jet supported the rescue. 

The expedition may have been cut short. But the human- powered adventurer is not giving up on his dream just yet.

“I have travelled 11,300 kilometres for over 160 days using nothing but my own human power.

“Crossing the Tasman was the last stage of this massive journey. No-one has successfully rowed the southern Tasman route from Australia to New Zealand.

“I never climbed Mt Everest on my first attempt and it’s not in my nature to give up when things don’t turn out as planned.” 

Mr Rawlinson said he would like to thank the people of Eden for their support, and the rescue crew who he said are “a credit” to the Australian people. 

This story Axe Rawlinson’s trans-Tasman rowing epic cut short first appeared on Magnet.

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