Team Boatylicious – Rowing 2,400 miles across the Pacific – A Q&A with Laura Kennington
Original post: Another World Adventures
Last week we had the pleasure of catching up for a chat with Laura Kennington – one of a team of 4 women “Team Boatylicious” who are aiming to set a new world record by rowing from California to Hawaii, a distance of 2,400 miles across the Pacific Ocean in June 2014.
The team are hoping to break a world record for being the fastest all-female team of four to row the Mid-Pacific route. The current record for the crossing stands at 64 days and is held by solo ocean rower, Mick Bird. To put the team’s efforts towards this challenge into perpective, over 5,700 people have reached the summit of Mount Everest whereas only 5 people have ever rowed this Pacific Ocean route.
Laura, Emily, Anna and Aoife are aiming to complete the first Pacific Ocean Rowing Race within 40 days. The team will be completely self-sufficient, carrying all of their equipment and food for the journey as they navigate the route.
The team is hoping to raise £40,000 for Hope and Homes for Children and The Ahoy Centre and we and they welcome you to take inspiration from their challenge and follow their efforts and journey of a lifetime!
Full name: Laura Anne Kennington
Date of birth: 04/07/1986, 26 years old
Current area: Essex/wherever I lay my camping mat
Occupation: Personal Trainer
– Rowing across the Pacific! – what was the lightbulb moment when you decided “Yeah, I’d like to do that”?
It really was a lightbulb moment – the decision was made instantly! I got an email from Alastair Humphreys advertising for a mixed team that were recruiting and something immediately clicked. I decided there and then that it was time I did the things I’d spent a few years reading about – my fate was sealed! To explore the option of competing in an all female team, I rang the race organiser, Chris, and continued to babble overexcitedly at him for a good 20 minutes; he put me in touch with Emily and, a year later, here we are!
– Have you ever done anything like this before?
Not at all… I have a real love for the ocean and I’m passionate about physical challenges but certainly nothing this extreme!
– Why are you taking the challenge on?
I think for me it’s all about redefining my limitations and giving myself permission to explore the things that fill me with excitement. It came at the perfect time; I was ready for a change. The moment you allow yourself to take on something, rather than just wonder “What If?”, great things start to happen and I think it’s really important to notice what makes you happy.
– What are you looking forward to the most?
I think at the top of the list has got to be seeing creatures like whales and dolphins – the idea of seeing these magnificent creatures up close really is amazing. Incredible views of the sky; starry nights and glorious sunsets – that uninterrupted horizon is going to be such a beautiful experience! Last, but obviously not least, the sense of pride at reaching the finish line!
– What are you most scared of if anything?
Top of this list is 40ft waves and the potential capsizing that may go along with them. Our boat is designed to re-right itself, but the thought of being caught up in something that powerful is pretty intimidating. I also made the mistake of watching The Perfect Storm not long ago…
– You don’t have a rowing background – did this put you off applying to start?
It probably should have done, but I remember being told that other ocean rowers had no previous rowing experience and apparently this was all the reassurance I needed! As a Personal Trainer I had an existing confidence in the body’s ability to adapt so I figured I could pick up what I needed to and would make up with stubborn determination what I lacked in rowing experience.(I should mention that to a certain degree, I’m still very much relying on this being the case!)
– What’s been your greatest adventure until now?
Endurance bike rides and American road trips aside, I’d be tempted to say life! I know it sounds cheesy but I’m sure any self employed person would agree. Figuring out what makes you happy can be a bit of a rollercoaster!
– Your the only all girls team in the race, why don’t you think more women take on challenges like this?
Hmm. Good question. I wonder if it’s an issue of confidence. Although some great things are happening and female celebrities/athletes are speaking out a bit more, there’s such a huge focus on how women look as opposed to what they can achieve. So many women are scrutinized and airbrushed, yet completely ignored for their actual talent or achievement. There’s often a completely unrealistic view in the media of how women should look and this seems to go hand in hand with a really limited view on how women should behave. Hopefully, we’ll be a bad influence and inspire more women to get involved in challenges like this!
– What advice do you have for someone thinking of trying something completely new for an adventure?
Do it! Hunt out people who can answer your questions and obviously do some research but the decision to go for it is the main one. You can learn new skills, you can train your body and you can achieve much more than you think!
– I’m sure the packing list is pretty tight but what secret thing might you be hiding in your bag?
I’ll be celebrating my birthday a few weeks into the trip so I’m definitely smuggling some champagne on board! Also, Dave Cornthwaite is kindly letting me borrow his adventure mascot, Seymour the Say Yes More monkey for the voyage. I love that little monkey!
– Best tip you’ve been given so far in your training?
It came from our interview with Debra Searle and it was actually really simple – to keep focussing on the thought of that finish line, with friends and family waiting. It really was great advice – in the endless planning it’s easy to lose sight of that magic spark that inspired you to take on the challenge.
– The first thing you’ll do when you reach Hawaii?
I’ll be working my way through the menu here: www.daveshawaiianicecream.com/
Support their adventure here: http://boatylicious.org – 4 Girls, 1 Ocean