Adventurer hopes to break two world records with epic Atlantic row
A FORMER Cotherstone resident is aiming to smash two world records when she attempts to row across the Atlantic Ocean later this year.
Georgie Leech and two friends aim to be the quickest and youngest female trio to complete the 3,000-mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. The team hopes to complete the epic row in under 45 days, beating the current record by five days.
If successful they will also be the youngest female trio to complete the challenge. Their average age is 26, the previous best being 27.
Ms Leech, a former Barnard Castle School pupil, said: “People have said the challenge is more mental than physical because of the boredom of rowing and missing friends and family. We will also be away from home at Christmas and New Year so that will be tough.”
The 24-year-old, who now lives in London, developed a love for rowing while studying creative advertising at Lincoln University. She said: “I thought, ‘you know what, I want a bigger challenge, why not row across an ocean’.”
When the team she put together to enter the challenge fell apart for one reason or another, she was put in touch with Hannah Walton and Florence Ward, of Bristol University, and, after an initial Facetime meeting, the trio hit it off. Through sponsorship, the team commissioned the building of a £60,000 Rannoch R45 boat, which was completed during the coronavirus lockdown.
Once restrictions were lifted, they began training in earnest, and last week they undertook a five-day training row off the Essex coast to work out shift routines.
The race, nicknamed “the world’s toughest row”, will see the three women battle 40ft waves, dehydration, extreme sleep deprivation, and possible shark encounters. Last year’s race saw one team lose half an oar in a battle with a shark. The row is unsupported, meaning all their supplies must be taken with them and a desalinator used to make water. The women will be raising cash for the Women in Sport and Rowing Together for Healthy Minds charities.
Ms Leech said: “Sport has shaped our lives through the friendship and communities found within it. It’s been a key coping mechanism throughout the lockdown period for us, keeping both our bodies, but most importantly our minds, healthy.”
People can follow the team’s antics by visiting atlanticantics2020.com or on Instagram @atlanticantics2020.
Their fundraising effort can be found at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/atlanticantics.