ST. JOHN’S, Antigua (January 21, 2022)—Team Antigua Island Girls, Antigua and Barbuda’s history-making rowers, are doing it again. The team of four—Christal Clashing, Elvira Bell, Kevinia Francis and Samara Emmanuel—will compete in the inaugural Pacific Challenge carded for 2023. Atlantic Campaigns, the official race organizers of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, is also organizing this initiative.
The Pacific Challenge is a 2,800 nautical mile race from Monterey Bay in California to Nawiliwili Harbor in Kauai, Hawaii. The challenge begins on June 12, 2023.
Team Antigua Island Girls launched their Pacific2023 campaign at a press conference on January 24, 2021, at the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association’s Headquarters at Paynters, with the tagline Back on the Row Again.
Team Antigua Island Girls acknowledged that, much like their first, history-making row in the 2018-19 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, reaching the start line is its own journey. Fundraising activities will ramp up shortly, and the team has begun the training—both physical and mental—as they learned from their freshman experience that it takes more mental strength than brawn to get to the finish line.
Don’t ask the team why they would take on another ocean rowing challenge, as they are sure to respond, “Why not?” Since their Atlantic Ocean crossing, the foursome said they were on the hunt for the next adventure.
Who We Are
We are Christal, the adventurer; Elvira, the health-and-wellness coach; Kevinia, the personal trainer; and Samara, the sailor—Team Antigua Island Girls—history-making rowers.
We represented Antigua and Barbuda in the 2018 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge. When we arrived home on Monday, January 28, 2019, we rowed into the history books, becoming, not just the first all-woman team from the Caribbean to compete in the TWAC, but also the first all-black team to row across any ocean.
Our first row paid homage to our forebears—taking us as it did across the Transatlantic slave route. This row in the Pacific will connect us to another island culture—one that is intimately intertwined with the ocean. We are excited to row in those waters and learn from the Hawai’ian culture.
Why Our Chosen Charity
We will raise funds for Team Island Girls, a non-profit organization. In 2018, even before we set our oars to row across the Atlantic from La Gomera, we agreed to establish our own non-profit organization, Team Island Girls, to allow us to continue raising funds and awareness for underserved communities in Antigua and Barbuda. Monies raised in our Pacific Ocean campaign will go towards a project to assist girls in conflict with the law.
Rowing is an expensive sport. The entry is 24.500€, but that’s just the start. The approximate cost, including purchasing a boat, is about XCD$350,000.00.
Several mandatory courses—RYA Sea Survival or National Equivalent (how to use safety equipment on the boat, survival and search-and-rescue techniques); RYA Marine Radio Short Range Certificate (basics of radio operation, distress, emergency and medical assistance procedures and more); RYA First Aid at Sea; RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship; and Ocean Rowing Course.
Rowers must clock a minimum practice row of 120 hours on the boat, including at least 24 hours in darkness and 72 hours in open water,
Monterey Bay is on California’s Central Coast known for amongst other things, the abundance of marine wildlife.
Nawiliwili Harbor is in Kauai—Hawaii’s fourth largest island sometimes called the Garden Islands.