In May 2016, James Caple and I are starting our quest to row across the North Atlantic Ocean from Cape Cod, MA to Ireland. This distance equates to approximately 2800 nautical miles through one of the most notoriously difficult oceans in the world. Just ask anyone who was on the Titanic! Upon successful completion of our row, we will be the first American pair, the first ever mixed pair, and for me, the first American Woman, to complete an ocean row across this challenging route.
After seeing Rob Lowe sculling in the 1984 movie, “Oxford Blues,” I knew I wanted to be a rower. It’s one of the reasons I chose to go to Tabor Academy. One brisk September day in 1988, I raced down to the boathouse for rowing orientation and began talking to fellow rower Kyra Felisky-Shantar (Class of 1989). We became fast friends who still scull together competitively today out of Alexandria, VA.
At Tabor, our amazing rowing coach, G. Bruce Cubbold, worked with our rowing team relentlessly to perfect our stroke and speed. We were so hardcore that we chose to continue our practice during a small craft warning, which quickly turned into gale force winds. Who knew then that it would be preparation for my upcoming adventure, rowing across the North Atlantic Ocean, where the wind and sea remain primal forces.
The love of rowing brought James and I together, and when he first mentioned the idea of crossing the North Atlantic, I knew this row is what I was born to do. Our North Atlantic row will be unsupported, which means it will be just James, me, the boat, and the ocean. We will be a self-sustained unit with a fixed amount of supplies and a desalinator for fresh water. This expedition will be a true test of our of leadership skills, some of which include resiliency, problem solving, courage, emotional intelligence, vision and strategic planning, communication, and most importantly, teamwork.
Rowing across the North Atlantic is both a personal journey for us as well as one to raise awareness of the sport of ocean rowing. We wish to inspire others to get out of their office cubicles and realize their dreams, as well as be role models to inspire the next generation to achieve greatness!
Icebergs, sharks, whales, eddies, hurricanes, minimal sunlight and 50-ft waves may be waiting for us. And yet, I can’t wait to experience the wind, sea, and marine life while undertaking this epic adventure. Find out more about our expedition and follow us across the ocean at www.1000leagues.com.