Epic challenge ahead for intrepid female gig rowers
The two-month countdown begins this week for seven intrepid female rowers and one brave cox who are preparing to take on an epic charity row at sea.
The ladies from the Appledore Pilot Gig Club are set to row the English Channel this October – 23 miles in the busiest shipping lane in the world.
The crew – consisting of Jan McLean, Naomi Cudmore, Linda Stella, Yvette Parkin, Zoe Sims, Emily Campbell Jones and Natasha Acres, plus veteran cox and club chairman Len White – are attempting the challenge with the aim of raising £10,000 for a new training gig so that more people can learn to row at Appledore.
The crew will also donate a percentage of the monies raised to the charity, Brain Tumour Research, after one of the crew members benefited from cutting-edge surgery to remove a rare brain tumour in January of this year.
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Natasha, said: "It's an epic challenge but one that we're all really looking forward to. Gig rowing is not for the faint-hearted at the best of times as we're often racing in choppy seas, but to row in the Channel, so close to some of the mega-ships out there, will be just breathtaking."
"The sport has seen a huge uptake in our region over the last few years and our membership just keeps growing; we're desperate to raise £10,000 to buy another training boat so that we can get more people, especially juniors, out on the water."
"Our club is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year and we currently have one training gig and two wooden racing boats. However, because of the tidal waters, we are restricted to when the wooden boats can launch, which leaves our 70 members relying on one fibreglass boat to get a row. It's just not ideal.
"We're hoping that by doing something as mad as rowing the Channel we'll raise money to get more people on the water."
The Channel row is scheduled for mid October – although this is reliant on the weather – and is expected to take five hours.
Training has already started, with the ladies rowing to Clovelly from Appledore this week.
The crew have begun their fundraising campaign and have already raised over £1,000.
For more information on the Appledore Pilot Gig Club and its channel challenge visit www.appledoregigclub.com