“Julie” and four women on an adventure

Hannah, Gabe, Megan , Kaitlyn and “Julie” will be completely unassisted until the finish line.

by Patricia Schallert

The World’s Toughest Row starts in June each year with up to 20 teams participating from around the world. The annual edition of this race sees teams from all over the world starting from the historic harbor of Monterey, California, following the path of many adventurers and explorers who find the exhilarating challenge of rowing. An incredible atmosphere of apprehension and excitement is guaranteed during the pre-race period as teams complete their final preparations to set off to row across the mid-Pacific Ocean. A finish line as unique as Hanalei Bay on the island of Kaua’i is hard to beat as the backdrop to what will be the most incredible, once in a lifetime adventure.

Four women are training in the Ventura, Harbor now for this epic adventure across the Pacific Ocean in support of The Women’s Sports Foundation and Hawaii Domestic Violence Action Center. With a distance of 2800 miles, “The Worlds Toughest Row” is considered to be one of the most difficult races on the water.

The four women will be competing in the race class.  Their boat is 28 feet long and weighs 2,000 pounds. The boat is named “Julie” after Gabe and Megan’s mother. who was the girl’s biggest cheerleader and a huge supporter of equity in sports for women. The boat is a Rannoch R45 Elite ocean rowing boat, powered by solar energy and this will be the boat’s second crossing.

Hannah, Gabe, Megan , Kaitlyn and “Julie” will be completely unassisted until the finish line in Hawaii. These four women are also competing in the challenge of beating the worlds’ record, by launching on June 12th and expecting to land in Hawaii in mid July, 30 days later.

The current world’s record is 34 days for women. The women will face a long journey with challenges of 40-foot waves, extreme temperature, marine life encounter, sea sickness, and weight loss. Collectively, the team will row over 1.5 million strokes.

They will have a weather navigator on land alerting them of storms and weather-related changes.

With a rowing background, Hannah Byrd is looking forward to the “daring odyssey that demands unwavering determination and physical strength”.

Kaitlyn Piltz , navigator and steering, added that this challenge will be “an unshakable spirit of adventure, proving that gender is no barrier to conquering the mighty Pacific.”

Female ocean rowers who take on the monumental challenge, inspire others with their bravery and tenacity, reminding us that the human spirit knows no gender boundaries in the pursuit of adventure and exploration.

A fund raiser for Rowing Oceans for Women will be on December 2nd hosted by The Seaward Brewery located on Goodyear Ave. in Ventura. Call 805-302-6404 for more information. Music at the Rowing for women  fundraiser will be performed by the band Moxie Raven. The event will start at 4 o’clock until  9 o’clock.

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