Lia Ditton, who lived on East Pier a few years ago, has set a world record for a woman rowing solo from San Francisco to Honolulu; she covered the distance in 86 days, 10 hours, 5 minutes and 56 seconds. The previous women’s record had been 99 days.
As the crow flies, Honolulu is 2,395 statute miles (or 2083 nautical miles) from San Francisco. Lia couldn’t hew to a straight line, however. Who knows how many actual miles she rowed as currents carried her on a convoluted route west.
Lia left San Francisco on June 17 and arrived at the Waikiki Yacht Club at 6:10 a.m. on September 12, nearly three months later. During that time, she dealt with unexpectedly strong currents that kept her struggling to make westward progress, and she suffered two capsizes along the way. The difficulty of the physical challenge she undertook was matched by the danger she overcame. Two rowers lost their lives in their attempts this year.
As she neared completion, she had one final battle with the elements when a strong current threatened to push her past the entrance to Honolulu Harbor. But she refused to consider accepting a tow, rowing her 21-foot boat for 18 hours straight to reach the harbor.
Next up? Next year, Lia plans to row across the entire Pacific—from Japan to California.