"We spent the last 300 miles racing Hurrican Iselle to the finish line in Honolulu"

World record for team rowing from California to Hawaii

Emily Blagden was part of the first all-female team to row the demanding 2,400 mile route over the Pacific Ocean.

It took 50 days, 11 hours, and 27 minutes for Emily (Economics with Geography 2009) and her three teammates to make it to Honolulu in Hawaii, and it wasn’t a casual cruise. Team Boatylicious set a gruelling alternating two hour shift, rowing for twelve hours a day with off-time dedicated to doing chores around the 24-foot boat and preparing meals with desalinated water and freeze-dried food.

With two of the four never having rowed before, this was a massive undertaking. “Getting to the start line proved to be harder than the challenge itself,” Emily said. “After fifteen months of sponsorship hunting, charity fundraising, frequent team changes, boat logistics and training, we arrived at Monterey Bay only to find that the boat was still stuck in a shipping container,” She added.

Things were not much easier on the water, though. “By day four we had broken all four spare oars, the inbuilt speakers had given up and the bilge pump had failed meaning that we had to manually bail out all water with a bucket,” said Emily. “We also spent the last 300 miles racing Hurricane Iselle to the finish line in Honolulu, which was due to make landfall hours after we arrived.”

They were one of seven teams to make it to Honolulu, out of the initial 13. Before their 2014 trek, only 16 people had ever rowed the route. Now, Emily is one of only 44 rowers to have completed the journey.

You can read more about their journey and the charities they were rowing for on their website http://www.boatylicious.org/ , and they also kept a log of their progress on a blog http://boatylicious.tumblr.com/. The legacy continues, as they are continuing to raise money for two charities, WaterAid and Hope and Homes for Children.

Date: 8 January 2015

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