Women To Row Nonstop Around Britain - The Seagals sets
LONDON, UK -- Belinda Kirk, 35, from Bristol,
Royal Navy nurse Laura Thomasson, 23, from Dover, IT
support manager Beverley Ashton, 29, from Wantage,
Oxfordshire and Angela Madsen, a wheelchair-bound 50-year-old
grandmother and former US marine from Long Beach California
spent 51 days at sea in a tiny boat, ending their epic 2,000-mile
journey at Tower Bridge in London , setting the world record for the First
Women To Row Nonstop Around Britain while raising
money for the servicesí charity, Help For Heroes.
Photo: Celebrating with Flares after
passing the finish line. (enlarge
During that time the Seagals,
as they are known were: swamped by huge waves which put the
boatís water maker out of action; almost sunk by a rogue wave
that flooded the front cabin, survived storms, navigated some
of the most treacherous tides on the planet, almost been mown
down by ships, bombed by the RAF and they have run short of
They have been bombed by the RAF after accidentally
entering a live firing range and stalked by killer whales.
Sir Richard Branson who sponsored
the event by awarding the first-ever Virgin Trophy to the
winners, said: 'Go Seagals!!! I knew I was right to back to
girls in beating the boys in the first ever Virgin GB Row
and Iím over the moon that such brave women have achieved
a World Record in such a spectacular fashion!
'This is why we set up the Virgin Trophy
Ė Belinda, Angela, Laura and Beverley have pushed through
extreme tiredness, hunger and serious injury to battle on
and achieve the goal they set out to achieve.'
Virginís founder and Chairman Sir Richard
Branson not only sponsored the event but the Seagals will
be the first ever recipients of the Virgin Trophy, which Virgin
will award to those who complete extraordinary challenges.
Photo: Bev, Laura, Belinda, and Angela
(seated) after being presented with the Virgin Trophy having
set a new World Record. (enlarge
When they set out from Tower Bridge
in London on June 1, they were taking part in Virgin GB Row
2010 - the worldís toughest rowing race.
They were racing a team of four men around the
British mainland. But when the male team gave up after less
than two weeks, the women carried on alone and without any
assistance for five more weeks.
Skipper Belinda Kirk, 35, from Bristol
said: 'When the menís team gave up the race at Landís End
we were determined to make it to the finish but not one of
imagined weíd be at sea for 51 days. 'With every day of delay
itís been hard to keep going but we did it and weíre so proud
of our achievement. I canít wait to get home and sleep in
a bed for more than two hours at a time!'
Laura Thomasson said: 'Weíre so excited
that the race is over. There were days at sea when we believed
it would never end. Itís a fantastic feeling to be home.'
Beverley Ashton said: 'Without doubt the
hardest aspect is the mental challenge, sure 12hrs of rowing
a day is a physical test but it becomes a manageable, known
quantity. 'Mentally there is a lot more to take on, the uncertainty
of how long you'll be out here for, being confined to such
minimal space, no personal space, constantly on top of others
and little contact with the outside world; in addition to
these, for me, the fact I find the open water an uncomfortable
place to be.'
Paraplegic Angela Madsen, 50, from
Long Beach, California said: 'I have rowed both the Atlantic
and the Indian Ocean and rowing around Britain is certainly
among the hardest Iíve ever done. Iím glad to be back.'