Atlantic row ‘best experience of my life’, says Thirsk record breaker

22 Feb 2021 @ 7.34 am
| People

The youngest woman to row solo across an ocean has described it as the best thing she has ever done.

Jasmine Harrison, 21, from Thirsk, completed the 3,000-mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in 70 days, three hours and 48 minutes

“It’s just been the best experience of my life,” she said.

Racing under the team name Rudderly Mad, Ms Harrison set out on her voyage on December 12 and arrived in Antigua on Saturday.

She had never set foot in a rowing boat until a little over a year ago, having been inspired to give it a go after witnessing the end of the Atlantic Challenge while travelling in 2018.

“I saw it and then I was hooked,” she said.

‘All the power is me’

Huge challenge: Jasmine

She said: “I found out more – actually probably really annoyed all the Atlantic Campaign staff asking them so many questions.

“They were just sat there having a beer at the bar and I’m like ‘so tell me all about this, what about that’.

“I saw them all again at the start line last year and I was like ‘do you remember me – well I’ve entered’ and they were like ‘oh my god, you’re that girl!’”

Ms Harrison was on her own for the whole trip although she did receive occasional visits from support boats.

The entire journey was powered only by her own strength and the wind, with an average of 12 to 15 hours of rowing a day.

“All the power is me,” she said.

“The wind helps a little bit but it also hinders quite a lot – I found that in particular.”

She had contact with friends and family at home but said some of her lowest moments came from realising what was happening elsewhere in the world.

“The fact that I’m actually out there seeing just how beautiful things can be, and then you find out everything at home and on land is just so awful, it makes it so sort of depressing,” she said.

“I’m like ‘why can’t it be like this? Why can’t life on land be like that?’”

Aside from that, she pointed to aches and pains, and being blown backwards by the wind as the biggest challenges.

But she added: “The highs way outweighed it, I forget about all the bad things.

“High points is just the nature: seeing sunsets – I absolutely loved the sunsets – the water that is just like glass, not a single wave on it, animals – whales, dolphins, fish.

“I love seeing fish – people just get bored, I’m like ‘oh my god, it’s a fish, it’s a fish!’”

Ms Harrison has been raising money for ShelterBox and Blue Marine foundation, and has so far reached a total of more than £16,000 – although she hopes to hit £25,000.

To donate, head to gofundme.com/f/rudderly-mad.