Longsword by David Pilling

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Inspirational Friends

On a completely different tack to my usual historical blatherings, I wanted to talk a little about something that actually matters in 2013.

An old schoolfriend of mine (less of the old perhaps, we're only in our mid-thirties...) Jessie Vanbeck, and her friend Hannah Lawton are planning to row across the Atlantic in an open boat.

Hannah Lawton and Jessie Vanbeck

...you heard me right, they plan to ROW across the Atlantic in an open boat. Neither, so far as I'm aware, has any Viking ancestry, but it is the sort of feat the Vikings would have been proud of.

However, Hannah and Jessie don't have any looting and pillaging in mind. They are doing it in honour of the memory of a friend of theirs, Eleanor Rose Ellis, who died of cervical cancer in May last year at the tragically early age of 23. They are also raising money for Myton Hospice, who cared for Eleanor, and Jo's Cervical Cancer trust, dedicated to supporting women with cervical cancer. This fearsome voyage will be part of a race, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

In case anyone is in any doubt about the scale of the task facing the rowers, the following should act as a fairly terrifying corrective:

1) It is an unassisted row, which means Jessie and Hannah will have to pack all provisions and equipment on board before they go.

2) They aim to complete the voyage in sixty days. That’s sixty days or more in a boat 7 metres long and 1.9 metres wide.

3) They will be facing 40 foot seas, sleep deprivation, salt sores and up to 80% muscle wastage. Lack of room in the boat means that they will be unable to do anything other than sit or row, which means they will have to learn to walk again when they reach Antigua.

You can hear a recent radio interview with Hannah and Jessie on Ujima Radio below, on the 'Womens Outlook' sections:

They are being interviewed again on Ujima on Saturday morning (27th April), so tune in!

Below is a link to their website, 'Inspirational Friends', including further details of the planned voyage, sponsorship, relevant events and supporters etc:

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