Three Edinburgh brothers plan record-breaking row across Pacific to raise £1 million for charity

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Three Edinburgh brothers are aiming to break the record for the fastest human-powered crossing of the Pacific Ocean when they set off to row 14,000km from Lima in Peru to Sydney in Australia.

The Maclean brothers - who have already broken three world records with their rowing - plan to make the journey non-stop and unsupported and hope to raise more than £1 million for charity.

The Maclean brothers training near Dunoon in the boat which they plan to row across the Pacific ocean. From left: Lachlan, Jamie and EwanThe Maclean brothers training near Dunoon in the boat which they plan to row across the Pacific ocean. From left: Lachlan, Jamie and Ewan
The Maclean brothers training near Dunoon in the boat which they plan to row across the Pacific ocean. From left: Lachlan, Jamie and Ewan | supplied

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Ewan, Lachlan and Jamie Maclean will take on the challenge in a boat they’ve helped to build themselves. Setting of on the epic journey early next year, they estimate the adventure will take around four months.

The brothers expect to spend at least 2,880 hours with only each other for company, rowing shifts of two hours on, one hour off, with six hours each off in the evening. 

The musical trio – who will each take an instrument with them – broke three world records in January 2020 when they became the first three brothers to row any ocean, and the youngest and fastest trio to row across the Atlantic Ocean,  doing so in just 35 days. 

They expect the Pacific journey to involve some of the same issues that plagued their Atlantic crossing, including storms, sickness, technical challenges, sleep deprivation and sheer exhaustion, but on a bigger scale.

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The primary purpose of the adventure is to raise money to provide clean water to developing countries through the charity they set up last year with their father, Charlie Maclean, a leading whisky expert.  The Maclean Foundation has already helped build four clean water bore holes serving 800 people in rural Madagascar. 

And altogether the brothers’ charity efforts - including more than £200,000 raised during their last row - have helped to provide clean water to 3,800 people in need.  They say if they they can reach their fundraising target of £1m with this expedition, the effort could transform the lives of tens of thousands of people. 

And the brothers are looking for sponsors to support their charity efforts.

Youngest brother Lachlan, 26, said: “Clean water is the most basic human necessity on the planet, yet 10% of people worldwide don't have access to it. We're doing something to change that. 

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“I’d visited Madagascar and had not only seen but experienced the horrible impact waterborne diseases can have. The more we talked uninterrupted with the clarity of being on the ocean, the more we realised this is what we wanted to do.” 

The brothers have been back and forth to Amsterdam in recent months supporting fellow ocean rower Mark Slatts, who has also broken world records crossing the Atlantic, to build what they have described as the “lightest and strongest ocean rowing boat ever made”.  At just 280 kg, it’s only slightly heavier than the three brothers themselves and a quarter of the weight of the boat they used for their Atlantic row.

The Maclean brothers - from left: Jamie, Ewan and Lachlan - with their boat which they helped to build.The Maclean brothers - from left: Jamie, Ewan and Lachlan - with their boat which they helped to build.
The Maclean brothers - from left: Jamie, Ewan and Lachlan - with their boat which they helped to build. | supplied

 “It’s made from carbon fibre and a true first of its kind”, said Ewan, 32. “We believe it’s the lightest and strongest ocean rowing boat ever made. Being involved in that process - from design through to construction, sanding and painting - was an incredible experience. 

“So much can go wrong when you’re at sea, so it was important for us to understand every single inch of the boat. We already feel like we’re at one with the boat, and we’ll have plenty more time to get to know it.” 

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Jamie, 30, who builds outdoor saunas when he’s not rowing across oceans, added: “We’ve been thinking about doing this since we were on the ocean during our Atlantic crossing, but it’s been over the last year that we’ve committed and fully immersed ourselves in this challenge, planning every detail. There’s no going back now. 

 “Spending 120 days at sea was unthinkable before our first row, but making it through 35 days made it achievable. We knew we had some more in us once we arrived in Antigua. It’s just taken us a little while to get going again. 

 “Ocean rowing is a growing sport, but it’s a relatively new one so a lot of what we’ll face is hard to predict. Unlike our last row, this will be completely unsupported, so of course there are different challenges. What if one of us goes overboard? All three of us have a history of sleepwalking so we’ll all be on high alert. We might need to install seat belts! 

 “But we’re more excited than we are scared. We have the opportunity to do something nobody has ever done before while helping the many people who are in a position nobody should be in. And we get to do that.”

 

 

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