Sisters overcame flying fish and 40-foot waves to row the Atlantic Ocean in just 40 days

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Pippa Edwards (second left) and sister Felicity Ashley (third from left) celebrate at the finish with crew-mates Jo Blackshaw and Lebby Eyres.
Pippa Edwards (second left) and sister Felicity Ashley (third from left) celebrate at the finish with crew-mates Jo Blackshaw and Lebby Eyres.

A PAIR of Monmouthshire sisters overcame flying fish and 40-foot waves to row the Atlantic Ocean in just 40 days.

Pippa Edwards and her sister, Felicity Ashley, both former students at Monmouth School for Girls, completed the epic 3,000-mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in a remarkable 40 days, 11 hours.

Ms Edwards, Ms Ashley and crew-mates Jo Blackshaw and Lebby Eyres got their challenge under way in La Gomera in the Canary Islands on December 12 and spent Christmas Day on the Ocean.

The Mothership crew have raised more than £56,000 to be split between three charities - Felix Fund, Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice and Women in Sport.

The quartet were reunited with their families at the weekend when they reached the finishing point in Antigua, Caribbean.

“We are doing really well,” said Ms Ashley, whose parents, Bob and Scilla Greenland, are based in Usk.

“We have been getting our land legs back on because we were a bit wobbly when we first hopped off the boat. We have all adjusted pretty well to being back on land.”

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Ms Edwards followed in the strokes of her husband, David, who successfully rowed the Atlantic in 2019/2020.

However, she now has the family bragging rights after completing the challenge in one day fewer than her husband’s crew.

She said: “My husband rowed in the 2019/20 Talisker Race and it was his dream to do it.

“I supported him but, at the time, I could not really understand why he wanted to do it.

"The moment when David finished his Atlantic row was the moment that I knew I was going to take part one day.

"One of our goals beforehand was to beat the time taken by David and the boys - and we managed to come in a day earlier than they did.”

The Mothership crew rowed in shifts, two hours on, two hours off, 24 hours a day in what proved to be a test of mental and physical fortitude.

The crew had a particularly tough Christmas Day, when Ms Edwards was hit by flying fish, which soared out of the ocean, and the boat - a 28-foot Ocean rowing boat called Mrs Nelson - momentarily spun out of control when it was caught by a strong wave and headed north.

Ms Edwards said: “Thankfully, there were no major incidents. We maintained good relationships and team morale while under constant pressure, which is a huge test of character.

"We are hoping to inspire other people to choose their own challenge.”

To make a donation towards the crew’s three chosen charities, visit justgiving.com/team/themothership

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