Swimming teacher, 21, begins bid to become youngest women to row 3,000 miles solo across Atlantic


A 21-year-old swimming teacher who had never rowed in her life before January has set off on a journey to become the youngest woman to race 3,000 miles solo across the Atlantic. 

Jasmine Harrison is taking part in the Talisker Atlantic Challenge, a gruelling challenge which will see her row across the world’s second-largest ocean on her own.

The swimming teacher hopes to complete the race in around 70 days, and expects to drink about 10 litres of water each day while burning off more than 5,000 calories.

She set off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands at 10.30am on Saturday and will be rowing in the open sea for months until she reaches the finishing line at Nelsons Dockyard in Antigua.

Jasmine Harrison is taking part in the Talisker Atlantic Challenge, a gruelling challenge which will see her row across the world’s second-largest ocean on her own

She is one of eight people who are attempting the race solo, while a dozen teams will be competing in either a pair, trio or in four.

American Katie Spotz is the youngest woman to solo row across the Atlantic, when she crossed it in 2010 aged 22 years and 260 days.

Jasmine, who only started rowing in January this year after she signed up for the race in May last year, hopes to inspire other young women to achieve their dreams.

Jasmine, from Thirsk, North Yorks., said: ‘It’s a bit insane, it’s just started sinking in.

‘I’ve never rowed in my life – I’ve done everything else, swimming, pentathlon, most standard sports. Just never rowing.

The swimming teacher hopes to complete the race in around 70 days, and expects to drink about 10 litres of water each day while burning off more than 5,000 calories

The swimming teacher hopes to complete the race in around 70 days, and expects to drink about 10 litres of water each day while burning off more than 5,000 calories

‘I’m going to be the youngest female to do this – it’s an honour to inspire younger people that they don’t need an older person or anyone else to do anything.

‘You can achieve your dreams, as big or small. I don’t have a team, and I don’t think I will ever be able to achieve this until 30.

‘If you want it go get it.’

She signed up for the race last May when she was in Antigua on holiday and watched in awe as the rowers reached the finish line.

She had no experience but realised that being in the ocean was her ‘one true calling’.

She set off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands at 10.30am on Saturday and will be rowing in the open sea for months until she reaches the finishing line at Nelsons Dockyard in Antigua

Pictured: Ms Harrison on her boat

She set off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands at 10.30am on Saturday and will be rowing in the open sea for months until she reaches the finishing line at Nelsons Dockyard in Antigua

In January she began training and got into an ocean rowing boat for the very first time in Hartlepool.

She said: ‘It’s not just about the rowing itself, it’s more about the challenge itself of being out at sea on your own and dealing with loneliness, routine, physicality.

‘It’s about endurance but this is on water in the ocean – it’s something I kept thinking about.

‘I didn’t want to run a marathon, I wanted to row.

‘The idea came when I saw the finish line in 2017, I was there sailing, and I decided I needed to do it – it felt like my one true calling.’

The race is usually finished in around 90 days and Jasmine has enough dehydrated food, cereal and chocolate to last her for the three gruelling months.

She is one of eight people who are attempting the race solo, while a dozen teams will be competing in either a pair, trio or in four

She is one of eight people who are attempting the race solo, while a dozen teams will be competing in either a pair, trio or in four

But she hopes to finish it in 70 days despite training ‘casually’ in the past year.

She is an avid athlete who has ran triathlons in the past but said it was an entirely new challenge to speed through the ocean on her 21-foot rowing boat named Argo.

Depending on the wind, the vessel can reach speeds of up to 15 notts but she expects to row at around 3 notts.

Jasmine said: ‘Almost a year ago today rowed for the first time.

‘I always wanted to learn.

‘I’ve been preparing since January.

‘The training isn’t too intense. I want to enjoy this process including the training.

‘I was doing one session a day. And with lockdown I was going for extra things on my own.

‘I wanted to relax and enjoy it.’

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