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NEWS > Alumnae News > The final countdown for our ExtraOARdinary Alumnae

The final countdown for our ExtraOARdinary Alumnae

In just over three weeks Abby Johnston (class of 2007) and Charlotte Irving (class of 2008) start their epic bid to become the fastest female crew to cross the Atlantic, rowing 3,000 miles non-stop.

The women will be competing with teammate Kat Cordiner, as team ExtraOARdinary, and are taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, which gets under way on 12th December. But the crew will fly to the start line in La Gomera in just over two weeks, to face their final inspections and complete a number of training rows before setting off on the adventure of a lifetime.

It’s certainly been a very busy few months to get them to this point. After hosting a fundraising ball in September that raised over £39,000 for their three cancer charities, the team turned their attention to completing their final hours out on Dolly Parton. They’ve had to practice a few drills, including man (woman) overboard and using their para-anchor.

They also had to test their water maker, a vital piece of equipment for their race, but the estuary that the crew were training on was far too mucky, so they had to make up 60L from fresh water and sea salt. The good news – the water maker works!

Dolly Parton, their 23-ft ocean rowing boat, has completed several touch-ups over recent months – receiving a nose job (filling in the bumps and scratches on her bow) and a full makeover to add the team’s branding and sponsors, including LEH of course.

Before Dolly Parton could be shipped out to the start line, there was a final run through of their entire kit list, checking they had everything on board to get them to Antigua, including counting all the dehydrated food and snacks. This was a very scientific process, as the women had to weigh out each and every jelly snake and chocolate peanut to make sure they hit their daily calorie targets. Finally, on 23rd October, with everything on board, the team sealed the hatches and left Dolly to be shipped to the start line.

All that remains for the team to do now is keep fit and healthy before they fly out themselves. The women are spending countless hours on the rowing machine, all while trying to wind up work and say goodbye to friends and family. The final countdown has well and truly begun. 

We wish them the very best of luck for this epic undertaking. Hope Favours the Bold – and there is no mistaking this act of courage. We will keep you updated on their 3,000 mile progress.

There’s still time to sponsor the team and support their three cancer charities, so please visit their fundraising page: https://gofund.me/76c4edbc.

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