Girls around Britain: Frightening times

Posted: Jul 05, 2010 06:19 am EDT

The girls on Go Commando always knew that the Virgin GB Row would be a though challenge. But the last couple of days have been a little to close for comfort for the ladies.

- Could have died out here today, no surviving in this water just rock cliffs around with 12-20ft waves crashing into them, it would have made toothpicks of our boat and cast us to the sea, says Angela Madsen, US citizen who spent independence day July 4th hoping she would survive.

The SeaGals have been dealing with dangerous weather the last couple of days. Belinda Kirk, Laura Thomasson, Beverly Ashton and Angela Madsen was seeking shelter from the storm in what they thought was a safe place just north of Aberdeen. It turned out to be a bay full of rocks.

Go Commando is, with its 24 feet, a small boat and only two of the four crew can shelter in the fore and aft cabins at anyone time. The other two have to sit on deck open to the elements.

- A rogue wave flooded the bow cabin. It is still windy and choppy but we moved farther away from rocks. We were just at the wave break barely getting over the top of them, maybe. It's my break now and it's been tough day. I am going to sleep, she reports from the boat.

The all female crew off four is the only boat left in the Virgin GB Row after the male crew caved early on in the race. They are now on the last final stretch towards the finish line in London after 33 days at sea. The Seagals have less than 580 miles to go and to become the first women ever to row around Britain.

About the race

The Virgin Great Britain Row 2010, also called the Anglo American Boat Race, is a 2010 nautical mile circumnavigation of Great Britain in ocean rowing boats departing from Tower Bridge in London on the 1st of June. It is non-stop and unaided so crews will need to be completely self sufficient for the 3-4 weeks they will be at sea. Trans-Atlantic ocean rowing races have been running regularly since the early 1990s, but this is the first time an ocean rowing race has been held so close to land.

The race originated in 1872 when a New York club posted a challenge in to the London Rowing Club to row a four-oared race on the Thames. It remained one of the most important races of the season until the Second World War when it was discontinued. 2010 sees it return in its revised format.


Belinda Kirk plotting the next way point towards the finish line in London.
Image by Seagals courtesy Seagals, SOURCE
The Seagals on their way south.
Image by John Baike courtesy John Baike