Coxless Crew – The Greatest Challenge of Them All

First of all, a huge congratulations. How does it feel to be the first all-female teScreen Shot 2016-01-25 at 10.10.01 PMam to cross the Pacific?

We are pretty overwhelmed. We were on the One Show on Monday night to confirm our two world records, and it’s been pretty relentless since then. It’s so humbling to hear all these congratulations, and we’re just delighted it is over!

Naturally, the Pacific provides its own unique challenges. What was the most daunting aspect beforehand, and what actually proved the most challenging when you were out there?

To be honest, it was probably the length of the expedition. Obviously, an Atlantic crossing only takes around 40-50 days whereas a Pacific crossing takes months. Due to unforeseen circumstances, it actually ended up taking longer too, which was quite draining. What probably made it more challenging is that it was also an El Nino year, which meant currents and conditions were quite unpredictable. This stirred everything up; the Pacific Ocean is already known for larger swells than the Atlantic so there wasn’t much to prepare us beforehand. We just had to deal with it whilst we were out there.

In terms of rowing at night, it’s great when there is a full moon but terrifying when there is no light. Waves crash into you and you can’t see them coming, which makes it doubly scary.

Describe a typical day for us?

We had a two hour on, two hour off pattern. In the rest shifts, we’d sleep, eat, rest, blog, recover and do any maintenance work which needed doing around the boat. The most sleep we ever got without interruption was around 1 and a half hours. Despite all this, one of the best elements of the crossing was that there were no typical days. We had a rough schedule, but the unpredictability of the ocean meant we always had something to do. The conditions provided different dynamics.
When the routine did get boring, a whale would usually come along anyway.IMG_2047

When the going gets tough, they say it’s the smallest things that motivate us. Was there something in particular that kept you all going?

Each person we were rowing for had already crossed their own Pacific, in their own way. They’d overcome, or were overcoming, their own problems and had forged a new life for themselves so we were inspired constantly by that.

Ocean rowing is hot news at the moment, with the first crews stepping ashore after the Talisker Atlantic Challenge. What are your thoughts on why this is?

Why not?

The thing with ocean rowing is that it very much takes you away from your comfort zone. There are so many factors which challenge you as a person, so you sort of have to just go with the flow. Ocean rowing is obviously hugely different from rowing on a river or a lake; it’s both physically draining and mentally exhausting. We think it’s that scale of difficulty that really draws people in.

I spoke to you guys back in July, when you were relatively new into the journey. How, Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 10.10.49 PMif at all, has the journey changed your perception of life?

I think it’s how much we listen to each other, and how much we know want to listen to others. In life, we don’t really listen, not properly at least. It’s so important to find out more about a person than just what they did last Saturday.

All images credited to Sarah Moshman – Losing Sight of Shore

To donate £3 to the Coxless Crew, text DORIS to 70300

Tom Morgan

Previous editor of Row360, publisher of Junior Rowing News, freelance writer for the Daily Telegraph, the Huffington Post, Vital Football and others. Student at the University of Southampton.

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