Four ordinary women. Two amazing charities. One awe-inspring expedition. Marina meets the first all-four female team to row The Pacific…
A far cry from the luxury and comfort that most of us know, the Coxless Crew are attempting to be the First Female 4s team to row 8,446 miles unsupported across the Pacific Ocean from America to Australia. In doing so, they aim to raise over £250,000 for two charities, women injured at war through Walking With The Wounded and Breast Cancer Care.
Their Pacific Ocean row is a huge endurance test, with two hours on the oars and two hours off for six months, testing the team’s mental and physical capabilities to the full.
Their boat, Doris, is a 29ft Kevlar and fibreglass ocean rowing boat that is solar powered and fitted with Raymarine electronics, a watermaker, and all necessary safety equipment. Coxless Crew will be the first all-four female crew to row the Pacific – over 2.5 times the distance of the Atlantic. They will burn over 5,000 calories a day, endure sea sickness and more but, collectively, are driven by those women who have never given up in their fight against breast cancer or their will to get back up after injury.
They will begin this incredible odyssey in April 2015 from San Francisco, California and finish in Cairns, Australia, with stops in Hawaii and Samoa to repair and restock their boat and to share their incredible story.
This seemingly crazy idea was born by Laura Penhaul, lead physiotherapist for the Paralympics team who, close to three years ago, decided that it wasn’t good enough being inspired by the incredible athletes she worked with, it was time to see what her own coping strategies were and how she could put them to the test.
How do we, as humans, deal with and overcome adversities? The seed was sown.
Her plan formulated with the choice of two amazing charities that were the living proof that you can fight and overcome life’s challenges and now the idea is becoming a reality.
Emma, a passionate school expedition leader, was the next to be recruited and, being an ex-Cambridge rower, brings a wealth of practical experience to the team. She will also be heading up the Schools Project initiative, which the team is running during their adventure.
With regular interaction with young students, the Coxless Crew will be hoping to prove that the world is their oyster and it’s possible to reach for the stars and do anything you set your mind to with the right focus, determination and support network.
Natalia, a travel industry professional has spent the best part of two decades living and working outside her comfort zone in varying developing world destinations and has also sailed the first section of the journey the girls are about to make as part of a working crew on an expedition boat monitoring plastic pollution in the Pacific.
For her, the journey is all about the strength of human spirit. This is not only reflected in the charities that the team is supporting but has also been a constant inspiration during her travels.
Isabel is the team’s coordinator. She ensures that everyone is doing exactly what she needs to be doing at any one time. A successful solicitor by trade, Izzy’s attention to detail is truly a gift and she is constantly keeping the Coxless Crew ship-shape with her meticulous organisation skills. She also has rowing experience and is a very keen mountaineer, cyclist and runner.
Apart from the obvious challenges of sleep deprivation, adverse weather, possible injury, salt sores and equipment malfunction to name a few, other issues the team will need to face will be how to deal with the monotony, confined living quarters and limited contact with the anyone outside the world of their boat.
You can keep up to date with the team on Twitter @coxlesscrew or show your support by visiting www.coxlesscrew.com and ‘Buy a Mile’ for just £10 and get your name, or the name of a loved one, written on the inspiration wall inside the cabin!