American rower Sonya Baumstein rows a boat as she leaves Choshi, a port east of Tokyo, headed for San Francisco.
AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi
American rower Sonya Baumstein rows a boat as she leaves Choshi, a port east of Tokyo, headed for San Francisco.

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U.S. rower Sonya Baumstein called off her attempt at a world record solo row after eight days at sea

She was rescued safely by the Japanese coast guard on Saturday

She had encountered bad weather and lost 'a critical steering system'

CNN —  

A U.S. woman’s attempt to row solo from Japan to San Francisco was aborted just eight days into the journey due to bad weather.

Sonya Baumstein, who has since returned to Japan safely, sent out a distress signal on Saturday about 155 miles off the coast of Japan.

A freighter nearby picked her up before passing her on to a coast guard ship, the Japanese coast guard said.

Baumstein set off from the port of Chosi, located east of Tokyo, on June 7 for the 6,000-mile journey, hoping to become the first woman to cross the Pacific alone.

Baumstein’s campaign manager, Andrew Cull, posted this statement on her website:

“The past eight days have been interesting and we knew we were taking a chance with the weather and late season, concerned more about the weather upon arrival in California in the fall,” wrote Cull.

Baumstein's course: She ended her journey about 155 miles off the coast of Japan.
Expedition Pacific
Baumstein's course: She ended her journey about 155 miles off the coast of Japan.

“After long conversations, loosing a drogue, a critical steering system failure, and battling headwinds and typhoons, Sonya made the decision to abandon this year’s attempt. While we were only eight days in, the progress against wind and storms was slow and the next few weeks promised more storms and potentially even slower progress.”

The weather conditions also made it “impossible” for Baumstein to see other vessels near her, he wrote.

Last Wednesday, Baumstein posted about her close run-in with a fishing boat.

“All’s well. After a hellacious first few days. Almost had a game ender with fish boat. Flare + Being prepared saved my life!” she texted via satellite.

Baumstein has not made a decision on whether she will try again, her team said.