The ‘Ocean Sheroes’ are the four fastest women to row the Great Pacific Race
Last updated 59 minutes ago
A woman from Falmouth helped break a world record in the Great Pacific Race.
The group, named ‘Ocean Sheroes’, smashed the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest four-row women 2,400 nautical miles, East-West Mid Pacific Route (Open Class) from San Francisco in Hawaii in 35 days, 14 hours and 32 minutes.
They also become the first British four to complete the Great Pacific Race.
One of the toughest endurance challenges in the world, the Ocean Sheroes, Bella Collins (Falmouth, Cornwall), Purusha Gordon (Luckington, Wiltshire), Mary Sutherland (Portsmouth, Hampshire) and Lily Lower (Burnham on Crouch, Essex) ) were pushed to their limits, rowing 2 hours on 2 hours off, 24/7 in brutal 30 foot wave conditions and wind gusts up to 47 mph.
Despite this, they broke the previous world record of 50 days, 8 hours and 14 minutes in 14 days.
Since its launch in 2014, only 22 teams have completed the Great Pacific Race, covering 2,400 nautical miles from San Francisco to Hawaii, with just two four-person women’s teams reaching the finish line.
To put this in perspective, more than 4,000 people have climbed Mount Everest, 1,604 have wintered at the South Pole and 566 people have been in space.
Bella Collins, from Falmouth, said: “Sharing another ocean crossing with my best friend and Brother Angus was an absolute privilege. He’s my biggest supporter and I couldn’t do it without him. It is an experience that binds us beyond anything else! No plans for another adventure … I think we both need to rest and recover now!
For Purusha, mother of two young boys Harry (8) and Alfie (7), it was more than just a record, she said: “Reaching the record was something I had hung my hat on for a while as a definition of success. Halfway through, I realized the record was just a small part of it. Crossing an ocean by human power alone and crossing waters never chartered before, sometimes at the mercy of Mother Nature, was a privilege and the most incredible adventure of a lifetime. As the certificate hangs on the wall, it is the experience, the stories and the learnings that will continue to shape me for the better. I hope I can inspire other moms and women to be brave, to say yes and to believe that they can too.
Lily Lower said there were ups and downs: “While the night shifts were very difficult when the waves hit us from all angles in pitch blackness, the incredible sunsets and moonrise and surfing on the waves made up for that.”
When asked what the secret to the team’s success was, Mary Sutherland said: “Resilience and focus on goals are essential, as well as knowing the capabilities of your teams and how hard you can push them. These ladies did not disappoint. We have spent a lot of time learning about each other’s motivations, personal goals and personalities are important in living in such close and intense conditions. Add in a general “do it” attitude and you have a recipe for great things. My personal expectations for what our team could accomplish were around the 40 mark and I’m so happy I blew that up, but we worked hard for our accomplishments.