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All-Female Crew Completes “World’s Toughest Row” in Eco-Friendly Boat

An all-female crew team from Bristol, England recently made history by completing the “world’s toughest row” across the Atlantic Ocean last month. The Bristol Gulls became the first team to complete the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in an environmentally-friendly boat. 

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is a 3,000+ mile rowing event from San Sebastian, Spain to Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua and Barbuda. The race began in early December and 30 international teams competed to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The Bristol Gulls spent 46 days, 7 hours and 50 minutes taking part in this challenge, which began on December 12th. 

According to BBC News, the team switched off in two-hour rowing shifts and faced a number of obstacles, including “seasickness, scorching temperatures, being capsized by huge waves and stronger-than-normal headwinds”. In addition to the external conditions, members also faced the challenges of both physical and mental fatigue. When the members weren’t rowing, they were sleeping, cleaning, eating and doing other jobs around the boat. 

The Bristol Gulls consists of 4 women: Lorna Carter, Phoebe Wright, Sarah Hunt and Sofia Deambrosi. The team chose to raise money for Clean Up Bristol Harbour and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

The team used an Eco Ocean Rowing Boat “made from more sustainable materials,” and the boat’s core was made from 10,000 100% recycled plastic bottles, according to their team description. 

The Bristol Gulls went above and beyond to promote sustainability and raise awareness about ocean pollution and drowning prevention. The team made environmental consciousness at the forefront of their message and considered sustainable options for food, hygiene products and gear. According to their website, the Bristol Gulls even used a desalination unit operated via solar panel to process seawater into drinking water. 

“We’re all very proud and happy but our levels of exhaustion are pretty high,” Deambrosi said to BBC. “Crossing the finish line only took a few seconds and we were trying to absorb every bit of it. It was an amazing feeling.”

After years of training and a rewarding journey, the Bristol Gulls completed their mission and placed ninth overall. More importantly, the team was able to raise awareness for ecological care and show the world that even the toughest challenges can be overcome with sustainability in mind.

Featured photo by Jorbasa Fotografie via Flickr

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