Two Bristol Uni grads have become the youngest women to row the Atlantic

They also raised £13,000 for charity

Two University of Bristol graduates have become the youngest women to row a gruelling 3,000 mile crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

Flo Ward and Hannah Walton, along with friend Georgie Leech, battled vicious weather conditions including “waves the size of houses” to make the record-breaking time of 52 days, four hours and 57 minutes.

The Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge saw around 30 boats attempt the crossing.

When the trio made it to Antigua, they posted on Instagram: “What an adventure. We’re still soaking it all in and couldn’t do it justice with words right now but we will eventually. Our aim was to ‘do the Atlantic and do it well’… pretty sure we can say we have.”

Flo and Hannah met at the University of Bristol Boat Club (UBBC) while Flo was studying Spanish and Hannah geography. Both graduated in 2015.

Photo: Atlantic Campaigns

The trio rowed in shifts around the clock in order to make the time, with Flo detailing that catching up with other boats via satellite phone and listening to Barack Obama’s autobiography got her through the midnight to 2am shift.

Flo detailed the journey’s highs and lows: “On day 37 I tried cleaning the boat in larger conditions than usual. I only managed half the boat before it felt too big and Georgie had to haul me back in as I’d run out of energy.

“The combination of feeling completely wiped out and knowing that other teams had started to finish made it a mentally tough day.”

Photo: Atlantic Campaigns

Along the way the three women also raised a huge £13,000 for charities Women in Sport and Rowing Together for Healthy Minds. Rowing Together for Healthy Minds was started in memory of René Zamudio who died by suicide in January 2017. He was a previous University of Bristol student who learnt to row while in Bristol before continuing his studies at Imperial College.

Hannah, aged 27 and now a geography teacher, said: “My time at Bristol would not have been the same without joining UBBC.

“The friendships formed during that three years are still some of my strongest today. It was also how we heard about the race when we watched Callum Gathercole complete it in 2015 whilst he was part of the club!”

Featured image: Atlantic Campaigns

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