“Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn” Harriet Beecher Stowe
Hawchester London is proud to partner with British rowing sensation, Lara Vafiadis who hails from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. As a trained Yacht Skipper having gained her RYA Yacht-Master at 21, Lara is no stranger to leading the way in breaking records in her field.
On the 12th of December 2022, Lara will be competing in the world’s toughest race by rowing 3000 miles solo across the Atlantic Ocean - a feat that just 20 women have ever completed solo.
Fun fact: did you know that more people have actually climbed Mt. Everest than have rowed across the Atlantic?
Lara aims to join this elite group by competing in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge which is the premier event in ocean rowing. The course starts from San Sebastian in La Gomera in the Canary Islands (28oN 18oW) all the way to Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour in Antigua & Barbuda (17oN 61oW).
This challenge is not a walk in the park even for the most seasoned veterans in rowing. Going up against the powerful Atlantic Ocean, Lara’s rowing boat of 20ft (7.3m) will meet waves of up to 30 meters (90 feet) and she runs the risk of capsizing which can be a daunting prospect. Lara will be rowing for up to 18 hours a day, giving her very little time to sleep, in already difficult sleeping conditions on the rolling waves and often tumultuous rocking of the ocean. The lack of stable ground and debilitating loneliness will push Lara’s mental acuity to the limits and can induce hallucinations and mood swings. Excessive exposure to the ocean conditions like the salty air on the rowing boat can cause painful sores which have the potential to lead to infection as there is no capacity for regularly washing the body free of salt. Lara can expect temperatures surpassing 30 degrees and with no shade on the boat and rowing all day, every day, dehydration can become a real risk. Lara will have an onboard water maker, but this only minimally mitigates this risk. Finding the mental strength is a challenge in itself but the physical grit in a journey like this requires needs a great deal of training. The body will need to burn approximately 8000 calories a day to maintain the distance that has to be travelled. However, rowers typically only manage to eat 6000 calories a day. Therefore, Lara will likely lose between 10kg and 15kg on the crossing. This may be exacerbated by bouts of sea sickness which can drain energy and motivation, making it all that much harder!
Sounds like a real challenge, doesn’t it? But it’s all for a worthy cause with funds raised from this adventure to be donated to ‘Plan, UK’ who are an international organization championing issues faced by women and children to help build a future where they are valued. Lara’s row will also support a charity closer to home, called ‘Our Only World’, a UK registered charity based in Cornwall, whose mission is to inspire and raise awareness of the fight against marine plastic pollution and its effect on our only world. The final beneficiary of Lara’s solo row will be ‘Prostrate Cancer UK’ to support their efforts in funding research.
When we were approached to partner with this incredible journey that Lara is about to embark on, we couldn’t have been prouder to say yes for it not only fits in with our mission of honouring everyday leaders that lead the way but also shines a light on the power of determination and the positivity of the human spirit to achieve the impossible! We at Hawchester London applaud Lara’s efforts in going ahead with this challenging adventure and we hope to support more record breaking events like these in the future.
To find out more and contribute to Lara's cause please click on this.girl.rows