Antigua and Barbuda, with its strong heritage of yacht racing and moniker as the “Sailing Capital of the Caribbean,” says it is always keen for a good nautical adventure.
With history about to be made, the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) said on Wednesday that the destination is “more than ready to roll out the red carpet to welcome adventurous Atlantic rowers ‘Team Antigua Island Girls’, when they row into the historic Nelson’s Dockyard and into the record books as the first all-black female team in the world to row across the Atlantic Ocean.”
ABTA said the team is expected to complete the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge this or next month.
Dubbed the world’s toughest row, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is a premier ocean rowing experience that begins in La Gomera in the Canary Islands.
On Dec. 12, ABTA said the teams, 28 in total, set off on their journey braving the Atlantic Ocean, crossing 3000 miles with over 1.5 million oar strokes and little sleep, to get to their destination in Antigua.
The first team to finish the Challenge, Dutch Atlantic Four, was welcomed into Antigua, with much fanfare on Tuesday, having spent 34 days at sea, ABTA said.
It said Team Antigua Island Girls rowers: Elvira Bell, Christal Clashing, Samara Emanuel and Captain Kevinia Francis are expected to arrive later this month, “where family, friends and mammoth crowds of well-wishers will gather at the Nelson’s Dockyard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site to cheer them on as they row in and celebrate the successful end of their journey.”
Junella King, the alternate and fifth member of Team Antigua Island Girls, will meet her teammates in Antigua, ABTA said.
“Antigua and Barbuda’s rich nautical heritage, and the unrivalled setting that competitors rowing into the Dockyard will encounter, makes Antigua and Barbuda the ideal location for this event,” said Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Tourism Charles Fernandez. “We are excited to welcome all the rowers, their families and friends to Antigua and Barbuda for this experience.”
“While this is the third time a team from Antigua and Barbuda has entered the Challenge, we are truly proud that the first all-black female team to row the Atlantic is comprised of four courageous Antiguan women,” he added. The entire nation is rooting for our girls, and we are really looking forward to welcoming them home and celebrating the strength of women.
“This is history in the making, and it will truly be a momentous occasion for Antigua and Barbuda,” Fernandez continued.
Team Antigua Island Girls have identified local charity, Cottage of Hope, as one of the main reasons for their row.
Cottage of Hope is a non-profit organization, founded in 2009, which houses and/or serves girls who have been abused, neglected or orphaned.
ABTA said Cottage of Hope, with the aid of funds raised by Team Antigua Island Girls, will offer expanded services to young women who have come of age, who are transitioning from a group home setting to living on their own.