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You are here: Home \ Trust \ News \ 2017 Jul-Dec \ RDE physio and team mates set to take on challenge of a lifetime


RD&E physio and three team-mates set to take on challenge of a lifetime in aid of clean coastlines campaign


An RD&E physiotherapist and three other Exeter women are set to take on the challenge of their lives by rowing more than 3,000 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean in record time.


Rosalind West, a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, will be joined by team-mates student Abby Jones, Scientific Consultant Kate Salmon and Landscape Architect Kirsty Barker to take on the gruelling Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in December 2018.


The quartet plan to row unaided across the world’s second largest ocean in less than 40 days, from San Sebastien in La Gomera (28oN 18oW) to Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour, Antigua (17oN 61oW). They’re hoping to break two world records in the process - the fastest female crew and fastest female four ever to have crossed the Atlantic.


As well as breaking two world records, the team’s goal is to raise awareness of the impact of plastics on our oceans, beaches and wildlife and they’re now appealing for major fundraising and sponsorship support to help them turn their dream into reality.


They will battle blisters, salt rash, sharks and sleep deprivation in aid of charity Surfers Against Sewage ‘Plastic Free Coastlines’ campaign and community education programme ‘Parley x SAS Ocean School’. The campaign aims to fight the threat of plastic pollution and the damage it can cause to wildlife and humans, by asking people to reduce their single-use plastic use consumption.


The four have already started training hard but they need to raise £80,000 to buy an ocean-going rowing boat and equipment. They’re offering companies and individuals a range of exciting sponsorship opportunities including naming the boat, buying miles on the journey, and a corporate rowing challenge where organisations can enter staff and teams for a friendly competition against others. After the race the boat and equipment will be sold and the proceeds will all go to charity.


Rosalind said: “We have to raise approximately £80,000 just to get to the start line so we’d be hugely grateful for any support organisations and individuals can offer. In return we promise to work incredibly hard to make this a reality and do the South West proud. We’d also be delighted to teach people correct rowing technique if getting fitter is their goal.

“We love where we live and we're raising money to protect our coastlines - we'd love to have the South West community behind us when we go for the world record.”


Although the four are all experienced rowers and determined to complete the challenge and beat the records, Rosalind admitted it was daunting, even though they will have the support of nutritionists and exercise physiologists.


Rosalind said: “One minute I’m excited and the next I’m terrified at the sheer scale of it. Five years ago I decided to set myself one big challenge per year. It started with a triathlon, then a marathon, then a move abroad, then competitive rowing.


“But this challenge is different. What attracts me is the large mental component. To be able to keep going when you're physically exhausted, wet, hallucinating and in pain requires a different kind of determination. It's a gruelling two hours on, two hours off and you can't go home to a nice bed once your shift is over. There are also fears to overcome - huge waves and swell, giant container ships, capsize, boat breakages, chronic sea sickness to name a few. Each of us has our fears to face and it's these that drive us to do it.”


Anyone interested in the corporate rowing challenge and other ways to support the team can find out more at They are also on Facebook and Twitter, search for ‘Row For The Ocean’.


The public can meet Rosalind and the team at a beach clean open to all on 28 October, starting at Exmouth Lifeboat Station at 10am, and they will also be available to chat to when they bring an ocean rowing boat to Princesshay shopping centre in Exeter on 25 November from 8am-6pm.


Photo caption: (L to R) Kate Salmon, Kirsty Barker, Abby Jones and Rosalind West.

Added 02 October 2017

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