WE ARE EXTRAOARDINARY
Abby, Charlotte and Kat are three ordinary girls who decided to do something ExtraOARdinary and take on the 3,000-mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Having each had a taste of adventure over the past couple of years, the team are now also ocean rowing world-record breakers.
Abby and Kat conquered another ocean, with one major crossing already under their belts. Having sailed across the Pacific as part of the Clipper Round the World Race in 2018, the high seas were once home, but this time round the boat was a fifth of the size and there wasn't a toilet or kitchen on board.
Charlotte is no stranger to endurance challenges either. In 2016, she walked the length of America, 2600 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, carrying everything she needed on her own back. A few months after setting off over stormy mountain passes and crossing paths with bears, she was left wanting more.
Abby and Charlotte rowed together at both school and university, whilst Kat stepped foot in a rowing boat for the first time at the beginning of their training. Despite this, together they worked together to be the fastest all-female trio to row across the Atlantic.
Abby isn’t totally new to this, having started her rowing career at the age of 13. It was during this time that she met crewmate Charlotte. 17 years later, with a couple of GB Junior vests and national medals to her name, she works as a full time rowing coach. However, whether any of this will give her a leg up when taking on waves the size of buildings, sleeping just two hours at a time and tending to salty blisters, remains to be seen.
In December 2016, after hearing that Charlotte was going to walk the PCT, Abby was hungry for her own adventure and signed up to take part in the Clipper Round the World Race 2017/18 edition. Due to her competitive nature, she opted for the toughest of legs - the North Pacific crossing - and in January 2018 she set sail for China, leaving Australia and battling the elements on the largest ocean on Earth. It was here that she met Kat and they bonded over sea sickness and a love of prosecco.
After 31 days in the Pacific, Abby's love for the sea was born and upon returning to the safety of dry land, she started looking for her next ocean-based challenge.
Having investigated the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge a number of times in the past, and following the race closely for a number of years, there was zero doubt in her mind that the next challenge would be to row the Atlantic.
Shockingly, she didn't need to look too far before finding people crazy enough to do it with her, and team ExtraOARdinary was born.
Life started in ‘The Angel’ pub in Cambridgeshire for Kat, which is where her ‘glass half full’ approach to life began. Growing up with two older brothers, she always wanted to prove that she could keep up with them, and so her competitive streak was born. Whilst spending all her formative life in the UK, she has since lived all over the world from Malta to Mexico, whilst working as part of the International Manager programme at HSBC.
Always up for a challenge, Kat signed up in 2017 for the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, choosing to do some of the hardest legs despite having never sailed before. This is where she met her teammate Abby and so the fun began.
After 31 days together at sea, crossing the North Pacific and battling 14-metre high waves, as soon as they were safely back on dry land, with a beer in hand, they started to wonder what the next challenge would be.
Abby said she'd always wanted to row the Atlantic. For Kat, it was a toss-up between that or riding across Kyrgyzstan on a donkey. The Atlantic won!
However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. Upon returning from the high seas, Kat's Grandad was terminally ill with cancer. Soon after, Kat was diagnosed with cervical cancer in early 2019. Having gone into remission, the chances of recurrence were in the 5% range – but unfortunately on Thursday 2nd July 2020, Kat was told it's back. Currently navigating treatment while training, the opportunity to raise much-needed funds for such wonderful charities is not one Kat will miss.
Charlotte also began rowing at the age of 13, continuing throughout her time at school, at Newcastle University and beyond. With a GB Junior vest, a number of national titles and racing at Henley Royal Regatta under her belt, she laid down the oars and took on a number of other challenges and adventures in the following years.
In 2016, Charlotte made the bold decision to hike the length of America - 2,600 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail. And so, in April 2016, she set off with everything for her adventure on her back and started walking! Starting south of San Diego on the border with Mexico and heading north along the west coast of the US, finishing eight miles past the Canadian border, it took her almost five months to complete.
Looking for her next challenge, Charlotte jumped at the opportunity to take part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, crossing an ocean as part of an all-female crew with their sights set on a world record.
Walking 2600 miles across the US, through deserts and across mountain passes, with only the bare essentials in your backpack is not only physically demanding, but also a real mental challenge. The PCT adventure puts her in a strong position to handle whatever the Atlantic might throw her way… including going a few weeks without a decent shower and the importance of a good podcast.
Currently working as a Marketing Manager in London, Charlotte’s spare time is now spent in the outdoors wherever possible!