Status Row - trio leave Canaries bound for Antigua

Meet Team Status Row

Susan, 42, from Essex works for the National Audit Office. She’s recently become a trustee of MCS.

Jess, 28, is originally from Bermuda. Now living in East London she works in marketing for a small fintech startup.

Caroline, 31, grew up in Hertfordshire. She lives in East London and is a website developer.

Team Status Row left San Sebastina in La Gomera, off Tenerife, at just before 11.24 GMT on 11th December, with 28 other teams from around the world.

Team status

Jess Rego, Caroline Wilson and myself, are three women out to prove that anyone can achieve the extraordinary. In around 24 hours’ time we’ll start our attempt to be only the second ever female trio to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic from the Canaries to Antigua. Carrying all our food and supplies on board, we’re taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, known as the world’s toughest row, and we’re aiming to break the world record for the fastest trio too.

And it won’t be easy. We’ll come face to face with 40ft waves, sleep deprivation, isolation, salt sores, and a variety of marine wildlife as we row non-stop for around 50 days. Our mission, however, is greater than just the row. We’re working hard to support MCS by raising money via our website and raise awareness of the plastic pollution crisis, - particularly how everyone can take steps to reduce our single-use plastic consumption. We’re pretty sure we’ll see plastic debris with almost every stroke we take.

The three of us met on an indoor climbing course back in 2015 and our friendship grew over the next three years when we began to look for a challenge we could together. Caroline saw a documentary on ocean rowing and that was it!

Now, we’re just hours from the off - we’re due to set off on December 11th. As three women with no prior experience of rowing and with varying degrees of fitness, physical training both in the gym and out on the water has been vitally important. But it’s not just the physical side - we’ve had to learn navigation and seamanship, sea survival, how to operate and fix everything on the boat, and most importantly how to work as a team. When you’re living in a 7x 2m space in a potentially dangerous environment, working together really is going to be key!

Team status boat

Whilst the row itself will be a huge challenge, getting to the start line has been so much harder than we could have imagined. Our entire lives have been turned upside down. We all have full-time jobs, so in the evenings and weekends we transform into fundraisers, beach cleaners, public speakers, event organisers, social media fiends, logistic planners, first aiders, content writers and gym buffs. But we know it’ll all be worth it!

We’re currently in La Gomera for our final preparations before the race starts – on Thursday 12th December as long as the weather is good. We’re checking to make sure that our boat and equipment are fit for purpose, getting out on the water, and daily briefings to make sure we’re fully prepared for the voyage ahead.

This is it! Here are our thoughts from the start line:

Susan: “Arriving at the start line I feel a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Having worked so hard to get here it almost doesn’t feel real. I’m most looking forward to being out with nature; sunrises, sunsets and hopefully, an array of wildlife. I’m least looking forward to the exhaustion, both mental and physical. There’s been lots of interest in our campaign to row an ocean, which has given us a platform to talk about how people can change their plastic habits and protect the environment, and it’s something that I plan to continue when I return home.”

Caroline: “Now that we’ve made it to the start line, I feel an unbelievable sense of pride for everything that we’ve achieved as a team to get this far. We’re coming to the end of the first chapter in what’s going to be an almighty trilogy; I’m sad for this part to be over, but so excited to start the next. I’m most looking forward to experiencing something so unique, and really testing the limits of endurance. It’s such a privilege to be able to undertake this event and I’ll try not to forget that when that massive 40ft wave is fast approaching, which is the thing I’m least looking forward to! When people consider how difficult this challenge is going to be, it helps to put into perspective how seemingly hard is it to refuse a single use plastic bottle.”

Team status crew

Jess: “I’m feeling constantly stressed! We’ve come so far, but there’s still a lot to be done before we take on the Atlantic. It’s all getting real now. I’m most looking forward to the simplicity of life at sea, after all the planning and preparation is done. I’m least looking forward to the chicken tikka! I hope that we can prove that everyone had the ability to do their apart to tackle a large challenge. We often stay that tackling plastic pollution is like rowing an ocean in that it’s one small action at a time. If every person following our race adopted one new habit to cut down on their plastic pollution, I would see that as a major win.”

As we’ve all mentioned – a huge part of taking on this race in particular, is the platform it gives us to spread our message. The planet is one thing that connects us all and the synergy between saving the oceans and rowing across one fits perfectly. As rowing across an ocean is a series of small strokes adding up, we believe that if we all make small changes to our plastic habits, it can add up and have a big impact on the plastic pollution crisis.

Without even setting out on the Atlantic it’s already the hardest thing we’ve done – but also the best. We’ve grown as individuals, pushed ourselves way beyond our comfort zones, and discovered parts of ourselves we didn’t know existed. We’ve met some mind-blowingly generous and supportive people along the way and now we now hope we can inspire others to come on board with our mission to save our seas.

Please support the girls. They’re raising funds for MCS and awareness of ocean plastic pollution as they tackle the world’s toughest row.