Plucky UWE girls stranded in the Atlantic Ocean

Two UWE students are still bobbing about the mid-Atlantic on a rowing boat, despite race having already finished


Two UWE students have been stranded in the Atlantic ocean, which they are rowing across in memory of their friend, Ellie Ellis, who tragically died in 2012. 

Lauren Morton and Hannah Lawton, who are raising money for Myton Hospice and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, are still around a thousand miles away from Antigua. The last rowers to finish the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge reached the end over two weeks ago, but Lauren and Hannah are determined to complete their inspirational adventure. 

It was smooth sailing until disaster struck...Photo: Inspirational Friends

It was smooth sailing until disaster struck…Photo: Inspirational Friends

The girls’ supplies are running low; they capsized at one point and even had a fire on deck, whilst self-proclaimed ‘butterfingers’ Morton dropped a crucial piece of equipment into the ocean’s abyss.

Their biggest catastrophe was their rudder snapping off entirely, meaning they were unable to steer or row at all. All they could manage to do was use a para-anchor to keep their little boat from drifting back towards Africa.

They have been waiting for three weeks for assistance from the rescue yacht, which finally arrived today. It looks as though when they finish, they will have been at sea for close to one hundred days.

Triumph: the two boys landed in Antigua nearly a month ago

Triumph: Jamie Sparks and Luke Birch landed in Antigua nearly a month ago

Bristol team, Jamie Sparks and Luke Birch, reached Antigua about a month ago. ‘I was never going to give up, whether it took 20 days or 200,’ a triumphant Sparks told The Tab yesterday. ‘Every day at sea makes the finish and the changes upon your mind that much more euphoric and acute. That being said, at 54 days I was ready to get off that’s for sure. My hair was in desperate need of a good shampooing,’ the windswept, rugged old Harrovian mused.

Meanwhile, equally swarthy old Etonian Birch, back at his library desk in Edinburgh, misses the simplicity of life on board. ‘A certain part of me didn’t want the row to be over,’ he said. ‘Life became simpler in many ways.’

Water water everywhere: life at sea. Photo: Luke Birch

Water water everywhere: life at sea. Photo: Luke Birch

The girls remain determined and resolute. ‘Together we made the decision not to give in,’ Morton writes on their blog. ‘As the days stretch out we only grow in determination to finish.’

Support the girls at www.insfriends.org.uk