Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge finally over as last team arrives safely

A 64-year-old has become the oldest woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean. Sara Brewer, who only took up rowing six years ago, made the 3,000-mile journey in 86 days.

She achieved the feat alongside her rowing partner, Ann Prestidge, 35.

The pair completed the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge on just two meals a day after running out of food. The race took them more than a fortnight longer than they had anticipated after they battled 20-metre (65ft) high waves, fought through numerous storms, suffered broken oars and injuries.

The pair set off from La Gomera, the Canary Islands, on 12 December last year, rowing 3,000 miles (4,828km) to reach the shores of Antigua on 7 March. They were the final crew to arrive successfully, a month and a half after the fastest crew, an all-male quartet, according to The Guardian.

Until they set sail before Christmas, their longest previous rowing expedition had been just 150 miles long.

“We never anticipated it would take us this long – we were hoping to finish in mid-February – so the extended row has been tough both mentally and physically,” Brewer says.

“We were rowing 1.5 hours each in rotation, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to finish before running out of food. For the past three weeks, we’ve been surviving on two meals a day and next to no sleep. We’re delighted to finally set foot on dry land.”

Brewer became obsessed with taking on the challenge after reading The Crossing, Ben Fogle and James Cracknell’s book about rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic, and only picked up her oars six years ago.

“I would like to say that I finally decided to row the Atlantic Ocean after carefully considering at least some of the facts – including some of the obvious dangers and difficulties associated with such an endeavour – but that would not be strictly true, in fact it would not be true at all,” she says on her website.

“What is true is that I read the opening pages of the Ben Fogle and James Cracknell book, The Crossing, and knew that I had to do it. It was an overwhelming compulsion that simply would not go away and I finally broached the subject with my husband, whose reaction is still seesawing between being proud and petrified for me.”

Their efforts have raised more than £45,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society and Street League.

Before rowing the Atlantic, the pair had only rowed a marathon, the Thames and one sea row around Hayling Island.

Read the full story in The Guardian.

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