It took 74 hours for Antigua’s third team to the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge to row around the island.
For Team Antigua Island Girls, this feat represents the most extended period on water and a major achievement as Elvira Bell, Christal Clashing, Samara Emmanuel, Kevinia Francis and Junella King continue their preparation for what is dubbed “the world’s toughest row”. Previously the team completed the 60-mile row to St. Kitts.
Team coach, Eli Fuller says completing this circumnavigation of Antigua is something his team – Team Antigua Atlantic Rowers – didn’t think possible. Fuller explains, “Rowing around Antigua involves 26 miles of rowing against the winds, and 26 of rowing with them. It’s very much like climbing a mountain. The first half is like climbing up and in this case took them 52 hours. After a rest at our most windward position, it only took them 8 hours to get back down to Jolly Harbour.”
In addition to battling strong headwinds, the team faced navigation issues, broken equipment, food challenges, and mild bouts of sea sickness. The experience served as an opportunity to identify and remedy potential issues before the boat and other requisite items are shipped to La Gomera, Canary Islands for the December 12 start date.
Speaking of the team’s seafaring experience, Fuller says “as a team, they clearly don’t have the boating experience that the past two Antigua teams have but they make up for it with bullheaded determination.” He adds, “the row around Antigua is a huge accomplishment and will yield huge benefits in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. With more experience on this boat, specific equipment and navigational training, they will be hard to beat for any team.”
To date, The Hadeed Group of Companies has become the only major sponsor assuming the Gold Plus level of 75 thousand U.S. The team must still raise another 75 thousand U.S. dollars to reach the $150 thousand U.S. dollars required to enter the race. All teams entering the event support a cause and Team Antigua Island Girls have selected Cottage of Hope, a group home for orphaned and abused girls. Teams therefore must raise beyond the fees associated with the race.