Sara Brewer and Ann Prestidge have completed an epic 3000-mile rowing adventure across the Atlantic Ocean. Setting off from La Gomera in Spain on 12 December 2019, they arrived at Antigua three months later, having successfully raised £66,000 for charity. On top of that, 64-year old Sara smashed a Guinness World Record by becoming the oldest woman in the world to complete an ocean crossing.

Sara Brewer and Ann Prestidge @ LifeAtHSBC
Sara Brewer and Ann Prestidge @ LifeAtHSBC

Sara Brewer, who first took up rowing just six years ago, completed an Atlantic crossing after 86 consecutive days at sea alongside rowing partner Ann Prestidge. They were part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, and completed it as the final crew to arrive successfully.

The adventure took two years of preparation, where the pair focused on physical training, navigating, radio use, first aid and ocean rowing courses. They rowed one-and-a-half hours each in rotation every day, seven days a week. They eventually ran low on food, and for the final three weeks, survived on two meals per day and next to no sleep.

boat rowing
The team spent 86 days at sea @ LifeAtHSBC

“We learned first-hand of the raw natural beauty of the ocean. It taught us that the environment is much more powerful than any one individual, but it is still a delicate ecosystem which we must respect and preserve,” Ann told Lonely Planet. 

There were also issues with the trim of the boat, so the storage of items had to be readjusted to make it easier to manoeuvre. They lost three of their six oars, making it impossible to row together. The steering lines snapped twice, making rudder control impossible. All of these challenges were overcome and fixed during the voyage however, and the team knew that they had to be 100% self-reliant.

Sara Brewer and Ann Prestidge finish crossing
The two women overcame numerous challenges to complete the journey @ LifeAtHSBC

Weather conditions pushed them too far south, which also posed challenges due to damaged equipment, but at the last moment a drop in wind strength gave the team the opportunity to turn north again. After 86 memorable days they reached their target, pulling into Antigua to fanfare. 

When she thinks about the challenge, Sara is happy that her story may lead to other women her age pushing themselves. “She hopes this inspires older woman to step outside their comfort zone and to embrace challenges. This need not be restricted to adventure, for some stepping outside their front door is a massive challenge. She hopes not to keep the record for long, but to pass on the baton,” Ann said. 

More information is available at the team’s website.

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