Peter Bird

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For the Australian rules footballer, see Peter Bird (footballer).

Peter Bird was a British ocean rower who, in 1983, became the first person ever to row solo across the Pacific when he completed his journey from San Francisco to Australia.

Bird first became interested in ocean rowing in 1968 when he read about the Atlantic crossings by John Fairfax, Chay Blyth and John Ridgway. Then, while selling silk paintings door to door, he happened to meet Derek King who had just rowed around Ireland in a small boat. King was planning to row around the world and invited Bird to join him. The two only managed to cross the Atlantic however and having run out of money were forced to return home.

Bird next decided that he would try to row the Pacific solo. He set off from San Francisco on 23 August 1982 having already failed in one earlier attempt in 1981.[1] 294 days later and within a quarter of a mile of the Great Barrier reef Bird was rescued by the Australian Navy.[2]

His partner Polly gave birth to their son, Louis, in December 1991.

Bird continued to participate in ocean rowing and he later decided to row the Pacific again but in the other direction from Russia to the USA. Bird's luck did not improve and between 1992 and 1995 he made a further four attempts to row solo across the North Pacific Ocean including one attempt extending for 304 days at sea. In 1996 he attempted the route a fifth time and set out from Nakhodka, Russia on March 27, 1996. On 3 June 1996, the Russian Rescue Center picked up an emergency signal from him. A few hours later Bird's badly damaged boat was found with no sign of him.[3]

Bird was a cofounder of the Ocean Rowing Society.

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