When I was growing up, women doing exceptional things in sport wasn't all that talked about. Girls weren't really on TV or in Magazines doing incredible feats or inspiring adventures, from what I can recall, they mostly looked pretty and wore make-up, they were princesses continuously being saved by princes, or they wore bright red swimsuits and ran across beaches in slow motion. Women in adventure just weren't on my radar. They just weren't the heroines of extraordinary stories.
I remember in 2004 the Athens Olympic Games ignited my imagination, I was an avid sailor in my teens, and my hopes and dreams, were to one day be racing my Laser dingy in the Olympics. I remember pinning a poster to my bedroom wall in prize place next to McFly. It was double sided, and I had to choose which image to worship. On one side was Ben Ainsley, in my eyes king of single handed dingy sailing and epic Olympic medalist. On the other Shirley Rob, Sarah Web and Sarah Ayton. I knew nothing about their sailing class, yet I chose to pin them up on my wall. Why? Because they were girls, just like me, and if they could race in the Olympics, maybe so could I!
Now, don't be disappointed, but I have to tell you... I'm no Olympic champion, but this is a story about a young girls dreams and her role models, and I may not have a gold medal, but I am training to row an ocean! Close enough I reckon.
Let's continue this story and try to answer the question in the title.
Let me tell you about a defining moment for me as a teenager, an event that may well have had influenced who I am today, oh, and the only day I've ever skived from school.
My best friend and I jumped on the train to Falmouth with permission from my mum of course. What was so important that my mum gave us both a couple of quid and encouraged us to skip school?
Ellen MacArthur sailing into Falmouth Harbour!
Yes, this women had become the fastest person to sail around the world in just 71 days! Why was it a moment I'd never forget? At the age of 15 this women became a heroine of a story I could finally connect with, she showed me anything was possible!
No prince needed!
The atmosphere, the excitement, I got to be part of a celebration for a female sailor just like me! Flags, horns, cameras, cheering and flares. If Ellen could achieve such an extraordinary thing maybe a 15 year old girl from Cornwall could one day do something flippin' cool too!
So Why Women?
Because women can.
Women can do whatever they dream of. Rowing an ocean in an all-female team, is our way of showcasing what women are capable of. Our story is one we hope will inspire. We hope that maybe a few women, girls and daughters might share our journey. From the struggle of raising the funds, to hours of committed training, and finally to the wild adventure of rowing an ocean. We want women to be part of our journey, to share it with us.
Written by Erin Bastian
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