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Bristol Mayor commends young rower’s pacific bid

George Ferguson and Elsa Hammond

George Ferguson and Elsa Hammond Guthrie Freeman

Press release issued: 6 February 2014

The Mayor of Bristol has encouraged the city to support University of Bristol student Elsa Hammond in her attempt to single-handedly row the Pacific, in what he described as an “incredible, mad feat”.

Elsa, who is the only female solo European competitor to be racing in the 2,400 mile race, aims to raise £100,000 for her participation in the inaugural Great Pacific Race. She will use this to heighten awareness of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans – raising money for the Plastic Oceans Foundation.

Speaking at the launch of Elsa’s campaign, Mayor George Ferguson said: “The city should embrace Elsa’s challenge, which is fitting in the lead up to 2015 when we will be celebrating our European Green status.”

He added: “The city will support Elsa in every way it can. I’m looking for heroes in 2015 to bring attention to environmental issues, and I hope that Elsa can bring an important message about plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.”

The race will begin on 7 June in California. Elsa is currently undertaking a rigorous training regime in preparation and from the end of the month, this will include training in her new boat in Bristol’s harbour.

The 24ft long boat includes a small sleeping area and all the equipment that she will need to survive, including water making kit, solar panels for electricity, satellite phone and navigation equipment.

Professor Judith Squires, Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Bristol, revealed that Elsa will be supporting physiological and psychological research during her journey as her body and mind endure extreme conditions in isolation.

Other speakers at the launch event included Chris Martin, the director of the race, Justin Adkin of SeaSabre, who is constructing Elsa’s boat, and Jo Ruxton, founder of Plastic Oceans.

For more information and to track Elsa’s progress in the run-up to the Great Pacific race, visit her website:, or @ElsaAHammond

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