Olivia hoping for transatlantic rowing record
PUBLISHED: 06:30 07 October 2015
An army officer from Lympstone is preparing to row across the Atlantic Ocean, as part of a team of women aiming to set a new world record.
Olivia Wilson, 28, and her three crewmates will be rowing from Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands, to Barbados in the Caribbean – a distance of 2,994 miles.
They are hoping to complete the trip in less than 45 days, breaking the previous record for a crossing by an all-female crew.
During the trip, the crew will have to live confined to their 8.5-metre-long boat, with two members rowing while the other two eat and rest, in cabins smaller than a single bed, with just enough space to sit up in.
Olivia, who serves in the Royal Artillery and lives at the Royal Marine Commando Training Centre, joined the team after responding to an advertisement.
Her crewmates - Gemma Chalk, Clare Lanyon and Jane McIntosh - had been hoping to make an attempt on the record last year, before a fourth crew member pulled out.
Olivia is an experienced rower, having previously rowed while studying at the University of Chester, and for the Army and Navy.
However, this was not done at sea, so she has joined the Exmouth Offshore Rowing Club to gain experience, in addition to training with the team, and solo physical training six days a week.
In the ocean, the crew faces the prospect of sweltering heat and fighting against 10-metre waves, with the possibility of storms and gales.
Olivia said: “I really enjoy pushing myself mentally and physically as much as I can. I’m probably most scared about the storms, knowing how powerful the sea can be.
“We are quite confident. We’ve got a lot of experience between us - Gemma helped organise the last crew which broke the record.”
Along with aiming to break the record, the crew is also hoping to raise £30,000 for the Barnardo’s Children Charity and the Forces Children’s Trust.
Olivia says she was particularly keen to raise money for children who have lost parents in the war in Afghanistan, having served there last year.
The crossing gets under way in January. To support Olivia and her team, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/femaleatlanticrow2016
Olivia is also hoping to find sponsorship from local businesses to help with the costs of the expedition, including the boat, safety equipment and resources. Anyone interested in this can contact her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org