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12 Feb 2016

*UPDATE - Over the weekend, we heard the news that the crew had to be rescued after their boat capsized, causing them to be stranded in the mid-Atlantic for more than 16 hours.
The oars and the global positioning system were lost, leaving them with no way to navigate or manoeuvre and after managing to contact them on a satellite phone, the UK Coastguard asked them to activate an emergency beacon before sending a mayday broadcast to other ships in the area.
The quartet, who are said to be well, were finally rescued at 1.25am on Sunday by a bulk carrier, on its way to Canada.
Read the full story here.
 
A University of Chester graduate is part of an all-female crew attempting to row the Atlantic Ocean and set a new world record, while raising money for children’s charities.

Olivia Wilson is attempting to set a new world record as part of an all female crew attempting to row the 
Atlantic.
 
Olivia Wilson, 27, who studied Drama and Theatre Studies with French and graduated in 2008, is among a crew of four women, rowing 2994 miles from Gran Canaria to Barbados. The team hope to raise £30,000 for Barnardo’s Children’s Charity and the Forces Children’s Trust
The crew left Granaria, in their boat named ‘The Fire Ant’ on January 26 and they hope to reach their destination in March, breaking the current female World Record of 45 days, 15 hours and 26 minutes.
Olivia, who comes from Anglesey and serves as an Officer in the British Army, is no stranger to physical, mental and risky challenges. She previously served as a Warfare Officer in the Royal Navy, followed by four years as Troop Commander in the 47th Regiment Royal Artillery, which included an operational tor of Afghanistan.
While at University, Olivia spent three years river rowing on the Dee and kept up the sport throughout her military career. As well as being a keen rower, she enjoys running, sailing, cycling and skiing and has recently learnt to kite surf.
Since leaving dry land, the crew have been confined to their 8.5 metre boat, fighting against 10 metre waves and have so far experienced ferocious conditions, including stormy weather and strong gales at sea.
Surviving on minimal sleep in the sweltering heat, dealing with chafing and sores, broken oars and with marine life as their only company, the crew (pictured left) have been completely self-sufficient with no support vessel, no bathroom facilities, living off freeze-dried food and sleeping in a cabin smaller than a single bed.
Olivia prepared hard for the challenge, fitting in a tough training programme which involved two hours of training, six days a week, around her demanding work schedule.
She said: “Although we all have very personal reasons for taking on such a huge challenge, it is my desire to push myself to my mental and physical limits. I am passionate about fundraising for charity, so the prospect of helping young children is a significant motivation of mine.  Having served in Afghanistan and witnessed the end of Operations, I think it’s important that we do not forget the children of those who made the ultimate sacrifice."
From everyone at the University of Chester, we wish the crew the very best of luck for the rest of the challenge!
You can follow the crew’s progress here.
 
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