Buffeted by 15-metre waves, the rowers hunkered down alone in their small boats and waited for rescuers to pluck them from the Pacific Ocean.
A pair of Britons on separate trips across the ocean were forced to abort their journeys after Tropical Storm Mawar bore down on them.
Sarah Outen was picked up by the Japanese Coast Guard Friday but Charlie Martell, who happened to be in roughly the same area, could be awaiting rescue until Saturday. He is floating alone at sea in his seven-metre boat, Blossom. His last position, taken before the storm hit, had him about 630 nautical miles northeast of Tokyo.
Ms. Outen was on a self-propelled trip around the world, a combination of cycling, kayaking and rowing. Mr. Martell left Choshi, Japan, on a mission to break three records: first unsupported row across the Pacific, first Briton to make the crossed and fastest solo passage across the North Pacific.
But these goals were sunk by Mawar, which bore down on the rowers this week. Twitter feeds, blogs and team reports from them paint a harrowing picture of the storm’s battering.
Ms. Outen acknowledged her fear before the weather system hit, writing “breathe” on one hand and “smile” on the other to remind her to keep calm. She had nicknamed the storm Rosie, which is derived from the English translation of Mawar, rose, and also happens to be a British slang term for tea. It was her bid to “befriend” the storm.
Her reports became more urgent once Mawar hit her seven-metre boat, Gulliver.
At one point Ms. Outen said the cabin was “soaked” and that she was wrapped in a Union Jack “in place of soggy sleeping bag.” She later described visualizing her family and friends to pull her through. “Trying hard [to] smile and breathe calm. Keep getting interrupted by waves throwing us over,” she wrote.
On Mr. Martell’s blog is a description of his small boat being capsized “repeatedly” by strong winds and heavy seas. He then pitch-poled, rolling end over end, which caused structural damage and left the rower “no choice” but to abort the voyage and call for help.
“When an ex Royal Marine Sapper decides to call for assistance you know that conditions are horrendous,” one supporter responded. “Chin up.”
A vessel is expected to reach Mr. Martell early Saturday. He left Japan May 4. While waiting, he offered his support and congratulations to Ms. Outen, who was picked up first.