Brothers to row 14,000km from Peru to Australia to raise £1m for charity

Ewan, Lachlan and Jamie MacLean hope to break the world record for the fastest human-powered crossing of the Pacific Ocean.

A trio of world record-breaking brothers are to row 14,000km non-stop from Peru to Australia to raise over £1m for charity.

Ewan, Lachlan, and Jamie Maclean, who previously set Atlantic rowing records, will look to break the record for the fastest human-powered crossing of the full Pacific Ocean when they set off on a 14,000km journey from Lima in Peru to Sydney in Australia.

They are also attempting to become the first team to row the entire Pacific Ocean non-stop and unsupported. 

The brothers, each bringing an instrument on board, could face storms, exhaustion, and sleepwalking during their journey, which is expected to take around four months.

The mammoth Rare Whisky 101 Pacific Row challenge will help fund clean water projects in Madagascar through The Maclean Foundation.

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. 

“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 Maclean brothers will be bringing their instruments on board their boat, which they will row across the Pacific Ocean.

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, in building 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 spent 35 days in from December 2019.

“It’s made from carbon fibre and a true first of its kind,” said Ewan, a 32-year-old design engineer who lives in Bristol and works at Dyson. 

“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.”

The musical trio – who will each bring an instrument on board – 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. 

The intrepid rowers expect to face 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.

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 dad, Charlie Maclean MBE, one of the world’s leading whisky experts. 

The Maclean Foundation, which was devised during long days and nights rowing the Atlantic Ocean, has already helped build four clean water bore holes serving 800 people in rural Madagascar. 

Through the brothers’ charity efforts — including the more than £200,000 raised during their last row — they’ve helped to provide clean water to 3,800 people in need.  

With the brothers’ fundraising target set at £1m for this expedition, the effort could transform the lives of tens of thousands of people. 

Jamie, 30, who builds outdoor saunas, 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. 

The Maclean brothers said their rowing boat is 'the lightest and strongest' ever made

“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.”

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.

Last time, they had to spend more than 20 days without music for motivation as salt water corroded their iPhone charging cables. 

Jamie, who will bring his bagpipes on board, added: “While losing use of our phones gave us the headspace to think bigger and create plans for both this challenge and The Maclean Foundation.

“This time, we’ll bring 25 charging cables with us just in case.”

The trio are now looking for sponsors to support their charity efforts.

To find out more about the charity, visit 

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