Londoner and SAS: Who Dares Wins finalist Vicki Anstey has decided to row 2,400 miles across the Pacific despite her seasickness and fear of deep water.
She’s rowing from San Francisco to Hawaii along with two other women in an effort to break a world record.
Their team, called Girls Who Dare, set off nearly a month ago in May 31 in the Great Pacific Race.
The trio will row their 24ft boat day and night non-stop, self-supported and unassisted, reports the Mirror.
Vicki, 43, says: “I had seasickness for 11 days, which left me pretty much incapacitated. All I could do was row or lie down.
“I couldn’t keep any food down – we’re supposed to be eating 4,000 calories a day.
“Thankfully the weather has improved so I’m much better.
“But I’ve had to overcome a lot of demons, including a fear of deep open water.
“None of us are rowers, we’ve had to learn from scratch. We want to show anything’s possible if you put your mind to it.
“If this isn’t going to help me overcome my fear, nothing will.”
Vicki, from South London, was one of the first female finalists on Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins, taking part in series four in 2019.
Since losing sight of land, she says she has tried to overcome the seasickness by “playing a game that I’m rowing in a bathtub – to avoid the inconceivable thought there is 11,000ft of water beneath us”.
Vicki invited ex-England rugby player Jane Leonard to join the crew last year – but training was delayed by the pandemic.
They set sail 28 days ago after roping in Jane’s friend Orlagh Dempsey, who agreed to take part despite never having been on a boat before.
Originally from Ireland but now living in the United Arab Emirates, 27-year-old PE teacher Orlagh first met Vicki just days before they set off.
She says: “I thought it would be daunting to get in the boat but it was surprisingly not – I just did what had to be done.
“Before we knew it, we were 10 days sailing into the ocean… there’s not much you can do about it then.” The women sleep in a claustrophobic cabin and use a bucket as a toilet.
Jane, 37, who spent 10 years in the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, admits: “I’m really struggling with the lack of privacy more than anything.
“We’ve reached completely new levels of friendship now…”
The Great Pacific Race has been called “the world’s toughest endurance challenge”.
The women row three hours on, three hours off, surviving on dehydrated rations in extreme weather and waves up to 50ft.
The current world record is 62 days, 18 hours, set in 2018.
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Despite a minor setback due to bad weather, Girls Who Dare are determined to beat it.
They are currently first in the trio category and third overall.
The team are raising funds for charities The Harlequins Foundation, Inspiring Girls and Mates in Mind, which support the empowerment of women by helping them achieve both their mental and physical potential.
They have so far raised £87,000 of their £130,000 target, through the help of celebrity supporters including Gabby Logan and Miriam Gonzalez Durantez – the founder of Inspiring Girls and wife of former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.
Jane, of Newport, South Wales, says: “I’ve done endurance events in the past, but never anything like this.
“Knowing we’re raising money for such incredible charities is what keeps me focused.
“All three of us are stubborn but we want to show all women that anything is possible.
“We want to inspire people to dream big and push out of their comfort zone – as we’re doing.”
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