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Reproduced courtesy of James Castrission and Justin Jones of Crossing the Ditch

Sony MiniDV Digital Video Cassette featuring footage recorded on board LOT 41

Date: 24 December 2007
Overall: 16 x 51 x 72 mm, 36 g
Medium: Plastic
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by James Castrission and Justin Jones of Crossing the Ditch
Object Copyright: © James Castrission and Justin Jones of Crossing the Ditch
Object Name: Tape
Object No: 00047262

User Terms

    This Sony video cassette features footage recorded on board LOT 41, the double kayak paddled by the young Australian adventurers James Castrission and Justin Jones across the Tasman Sea from Australia to New Zealand from November 2007 to January 2008. The pair were the first to successfully kayak the crossing from west to east, unassisted. Jones and Castrission named their expedition 'Crossing the Ditch'.

    LOT 41 included two cockpits, a cabin at the stern with modest headroom and long enough for both crew members to sleep in, a large water tank and storage space for more than 60 days of food. An abundance of solar panels covering the vessel charged batteries for the communication systems, bilge pumps and water desalination unit. The kayak was fitted with in-built support systems including emergency beacons, liferaft, a satellite phone and a global positioning system (GPS).
    SignificanceThe Crossing the Ditch collection is a significant historical resource demonstrating the technologies, equipment and material available in 2007 for long-distance kayaking. It is a unique record of how two Australian men teamed up in 2007 to become the first to kayak across the Tasman Sea non-stop. This was an extraordinary achievement that attracted widespread publicity and captured the imaginations of Australians and New Zealanders alike.

    The collection reveals the intense conditions mastered by Jones and Castrission during their 62-day record-breaking voyage. It is an extensive repository of written and photographic documentation and contains a wide variety of sources - reporting, discussing and recording the extreme nature of the achievement.
    HistoryOn 13 November 2007, James Castrission and Justin Jones left Forster, on the mid-north coast of Australia, to become the first successful expedition to kayak the Tasman Sea. Sixty-two days later after paddling 3318km they arrived in New Zealand on 13 January 2008, landing at Ngamotu Beach near New Plymouth on the North Island.

    Their double kayak LOT 41 was named after the auction lot number of the famous New Zealand-born race horse, Phar Lap. Known only as ‘Lot 41’ when it was sold to a Sydney trainer in 1928, the horse crossed the Tasman to become Australia’s most famous race horse.

    Naming their expedition ‘Crossing the Ditch’ after the colloquial expression used to refer to travel between Australia and New Zealand, the pair had achieved both the ‘world first’ of successfully kayaking from west to east across the Tasman Sea, and attained the world record for ‘the longest Trans-Oceanic kayaking expedition undertaken by two expeditioners’.

    In February 2007, a few months before Castrission and Jones started their voyage, the Australian adventurer Andrew McAuley left Tasmania aiming to be the first solo kayaker to cross the Tasman Sea. McAuley chose to cross the Tasman below the 40th parallel south in a 6.4 metre customised kayak. During his journey, he faced brutal seas and capsized after being hit by gusts of up to 70 knots and 10 to 12 metre waves. On 9 February 2007, the New Zealand Coast Guard received a distress call from McAuley. Two days later, his kayak was found within sight of Milford Sound. After a three-day search and rescue operation found no sign of the adventurer, McAuley was presumed drowned. In December 2007, McAuley’s kayak and its contents were donated to the Australian National Maritime Museum by his widow Vicki McAuley and friend Paul Hewitson.

    Prior to the two voyages in 2006, McAuley, Castrission and Jones had met many times and spoke about their separate expeditions. Castrission and Jones decided on a more northerly route across the Tasman than McAuley, selecting their departure and arrival points based on their topographical reputations as safe and protected harbours. The double kayakers were acutely aware that the most dangerous parts of their voyage were the landfalls, in particular, the final coming ashore in New Zealand.

    The pair’s remarkable voyage, which was tracked in real time through their website, is the subject of a documentary and book, both of which were released and published in 2009. Between 2009 and 2010, Castrission and Jones were engaged as motivational advisors to 16 year-old Australian girl Jessica Watson as she prepared for her attempt to become the youngest person to sail solo non-stop and unassisted around the world.

    In February 2012, Castrission and Jones, along with several other expedition teams, marked the Centenary celebrations of the Amundsen-Scott expedition by trekking to the South Pole in Antarctica. The pair completed the 2275km journey in 89 days, skiing from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole and back again, unassisted and battling temperatures reaching -40°C. Upon their return to Hercules Inlet, Norwegian adventurer Aleksandr Gamme, who had also been skiing unassisted between the Inlet and the South Pole, waited for the pair the catch up before reaching the finishing line. Castrission and Jones were the youngest team to reach the South Pole and, along with Gamme, they became the first unsupported team to complete the return journey between Hercules Inlet and the South Pole.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Sony MiniDV Digital Video Cassette featuring footage recorded on board LOT 41

    Collection title: Crossing the Ditch collection

    Assigned title: Sony MiniDV Digital Video Cassette CTD051 featuring footage recorded during the voyage of James Castrission and Justin Jones

    Related People
    Manufacturer: Sony

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