“Wanted: females aged 25-40, GSOH, ocean rowing experience not essential.”
Sounds like a personal ad, but this is how Crew Boatylicious was born – an ad posted on the Explorers Connect website. So they connected via the internet and a bit of matchmaking, and ended up with 4 lively young women – two living in Bristol and two living in London, aged 26 to 44. This year they will attempt to become the first women’s four to row from North America to Hawaii.
The prime instigator was trainee surveyor Emily Blagden, 26, who was looking for a sporty adventure and/or a big project to get her teeth into. Rowing the Pacific seemed to fit the bill.
Aoife Ni Mhaoileoin, 26, is a doctor from Dublin, is more familiar with mountains than oceans, having climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Mount Toubkal in Morocco last year, but her attitude is the sort that works in any kind of adventure – she says, “I’m looking forward to pushing myself further than I’ve ever been before.”
Ingrid Kvale, a 44-year-old documentary filmmaker, competed last year in a rowing race around Britain, but they were forced to retire when their electrical system failed. (Incidentally, the Boatylicious boat also competed in the round-GB race last year, propelled by the winning men’s four). Ingrid claims to be addicted to rowing, which is handy.
Amanda Challans is a management consultant, but whenever she escapes from the office she loves to be on the water – as a sailor, kayaker and rower.
The crew have given some thought to how they will cope with the pressures of life on the ocean, with a variety of strategies to vent their stress – music therapy with some uplifting playlists, laughter therapy to see the funny side, and if all else fails, communal scream therapy.
Things they will miss include fresh milk in their tea, being dry, being able to go for a walk, proper showers, and the variety of places and people in normal life.
They are looking forward to the joys of the ocean, including wildlife sightings and stars, but also very much looking forward getting to the end of the race in Hawaii – ideally they hope to get there before Ingrid’s birthday on 12th July.
But can they? These are tense times for the Boatylicious crew. Their boat has been seriously delayed in Panama, with a current ETA of 6th June – the day before the race is due to start. Although the boat is just about ready to go, they still need to go through the rigorous scrutineering process so they will be right up against it unless a way can be found for the shipping company or customs to expedite the shipping.
They seem philosophical about the situation, resigning themselves to a late departure if need be. But despite the superficial calm, these must be nail-biting times for the girls, so let’s wish them luck in getting their boat in time to take part in the race.