Tasman Rower Launches Book in Devonport

Posted by on Oct 29, 2010 | Leave a Comment


My world is a confusion of violent twists, rolls and thuds, with screaming wind and waves crashing into, onto and over me. I am lying braced with my feet against the cabin wall, my back against another, sweating and trying to eat cold porridge . . .

An excerpt from Shaun Quincey’s book, launched last night at the Devonport Yacht Club.

In 1977, Colin Quincey became the first man to row the Tasman. Forty years later, his son Shaun decided to emulate his father — rowing the other way.

Born in an Army Jungle hospital in Singapore on the 27 of September 1984 where his Father was based with the Royal New Zealand Navy, Shaun then moved to the North Island of New Zealand to the Waiouru Army Camp at the age of 2 and lived there while his father was involved in a communications program.

At 4 years of age, Shaun moved to Devonport, Auckland which is home to the Royal New Zealand Navy where his father was based. Shaun was always involved with sport playing soccer from the age of 5 until he was 7 when he started playing Rugby for North Shore Rugby Club. Rugby was to rule his life for 18 years, making the first XV at the age of 14 and playing in various age group teams while growing up.

Rowing entered Shaun’s life when he was 14 years old for Takapuna Grammar School, which provided the stepping stones to Surf Boat Rowing and eventually the Tasman Sea.

In 1977, Colin Quincey rowed his boat, Tasman Trespasser, from Hokianga Harbour, in the North Island of New Zealand, to Marcus Beach, on Australia’s Gold Coast. He crossed the Tasman Sea in 63 days and seven hours, and was the first and only person to do it solo, until now … This year, his son Shaun Quincey decided to give it a go — rowing the other way.

Shaun said he had never been more scared, had less money, been laughed at so much, nor been as unprepared for what he was about to attempt. Shaun approached a lot of companies (to be his main sponsor)… about 290. Only 1 was very keen; but they also queried Shaun what would happen if anything went wrong. Shaun replied that they should perhaps organise some signage at the bottom of the boat.

He knew he would battle a distance of 2200 km as well as one of the most treacherous seas in the world where the wave height can be anywhere between one and 17 metres.  It took 18 months of his life, dominating it completely. Out of 54 days of rowing, 34 were spent going backwards, and most days Shaun had only two hours’ sleep.  He also had to battle depression, but this tenacious Kiwi was not giving up.

On 15 March somewhere near midday, Shaun faced his final hurdle, the landing, which was the most dangerous of the whole trip, as three-metre swells slammed into Ninety Mile Beach, forcing him to ditch his boat in the surf break and swim the rest of the way.

Wearing a huge grin and the New Zealand flag, Shaun made landfall, his website receiving over one and a half million hits. Shaun had just set a new record and made history.

Tasman Trespasser II is Shaun’s journey, as a boy growing up with his father’s epic achievement, to his life in the water as a surf lifesaver, to building the Tasman Trespasser II from scratch and spending his first night ever on a boat the night before his life-changing ocean crossing.

Shaun Quincey lives in Auckland, and this November will tour Tasman Trespasser II round New Zealand, then the boat will then be on permanent exhibition at the National Maritime Museum.

The following photos are taken from his book launch at the Devonport Yacht Club on Thursday night, 28 October, 2010.

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