First all-Black Caribbean female team to row across the Atlantic Ocean sets sight on making history again

Francis Akhalbey January 28, 2022
Team Antigua Island Girls announced they'll be hitting the high seas again -- Photo via Facebook

Team Antigua Island Girls made history in January 2019 when they became the first all-female team to compete in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge as well as the first all-black Caribbean female team to row across the Atlantic Ocean.

Almost three years after that history-making feat, the quartet, on Monday, announced they’re going to hit the high seas once again. This time around, the trailblazing and adventurous all-female team from Antigua and Barbuda will be rowing across the Pacific Ocean – which is the largest ocean in the world.

According to Antigua Observer, the women – Christal Clashing, Elvira Bell, Kevinia Francis and Samara Emmanuel – will form part of 20 teams that are set to participate in the first edition of the Pacific Challenge. The competition, which is being organized by the same team behind the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, is scheduled to start on June 12, 2023.

The participating teams will set off from California’s historic Monterey Harbor and row to the Nawiliwili Bay in Hawaii. The rowers will cover 2,800 nautical miles during the journey.

“We knew we wanted to do another adventure individually and collectively. We are adventurous but more than that stepping out of our comfort zone and inspiring others especially women and girls has been a great achievement for us and that is something that we want to continue to do,” Francis said about their decision to sign up for the grueling challenge.

“So, we decided on a call to action to combine our adventurous spirit to continue to do good and to inspire others. Last time we were hoping to be a little ahead than where we were; it didn’t happen but 13th out of 28 guests was a big accomplishment, but at heart, we are not just adventurers, we are competitors. So, when Atlantic Campaigns told us about this new Pacific Challenge, we asked why not.”

The quartet will need around $129,000 to participate in the challenge, and fundraising activities are expected to commence shortly. The funds will cover the entry cost as well as the purchase of a boat and their trip to California.

The ladies also said they have already started physical and mental training, and their target is to break the fastest female record that is currently being held by Ocean Sheroes. The record holders rowed across the Pacific Ocean in 35 days, 17 hours and 32 minutes, per Antigua Observer. All crew sizes have an average crossing time of 62 days.

“Mentally, I think that’s where most of the challenge is. We work together as a team and we are just going to rely on each other’s strengths,” Emmanuel said.

And just like in 2018, the quartet will be rowing for a charitable cause as they’ll be raising funds for their non-profit organization, Team Island Girls.

“In 2018, even before we set our oars to row across the Atlantic from La Gomera, we agreed to establish our own non-profit organization, Team Island Girls, to allow us to continue raising funds and awareness for underserved communities in Antigua and Barbuda,” the team said in a press release.

“Monies raised in our Pacific Ocean campaign will go towards a project to assist girls in conflict with the law.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: January 28, 2022


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