The first Antiguan woman to become a RYA certified yacht captain, at 32, Samara has more than 12 years’ seafarer experience. She is also a certified day skipper, coastal skipper, yacht master and boat master among a lengthy list of certifications. Currently employed at Jumby Bay as a boat mate, Samara has a passion for racing and delivering boats. She said her best time is being alone at sea at night. “I have completed countless solo deliveries across the Caribbean and I welcome the solitude and the chance to tap into myself and to get to know my boat and my capabilities.” Samara set her sights on an Atlantic crossing long before she became aware of the TWAC. When opportunity knocked, she quickly said yes.
Letter from Samara
From possibility to reality
The simple response to why I am going on this journey in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2018 is that my stars aligned.
The sea choose me a long time ago, and I try to spend as much time with her that I possibly can. I also thrive on adventure, meeting people, creating memories and proving that the so-called impossible is possible.
I came into sailing accidentally. The job I had at the time grew monotonous, and I answered a help wanted ad. Things unfolded from there.
I hold the distinction of being the first woman from Antigua and Barbuda to become a RYA certified yacht captain. This was in 2007, about a year-and-a-half after learning to sail. In the ensuing years, I earned a slew of certifications and continue to better my skills.
Sailing, for me, is pleasurable and cathartic. I have competed in most of the regattas in the Caribbean. I also earn my living on the sea as a boat master.
In 2009, I completed an Atlantic crossing, sailing from English Harbour, Antigua to Portsmouth, England via the Azores. This set me on a quest to keep testing my abilities – physical and mental – and to keep growing.
Back then, I talked with my boss about rowing between England and Antigua, but I didn’t think I’d find female companionship. I also didn’t have the wherewithal for a solo row. What a difference a decade makes.
When the first Antigua and Barbuda team completed the Challenge, I immediately thought that cleared the path, not just for me, but also for an all-woman team. When then Minister of Sports E. P. Chet Greene made the call this year after team two arrived home, I heard my name echoing across the universe. I immediately contacted Eli Fuller, our coach and captain of Team Antigua Atlantic Rowers, by Instagram.
Team Antigua Island Girls is a group of five women committed to this row, each of us driven by our own ambitions. We find intersectionality in our passions, and that has forged the common and unshakable goal for a podium finish.
We’ve chosen as our charity Cottage of Hope, which supports abused, neglected or orphaned girls with a strong commitment to anonymity to safeguard them and to strive, as best as possible, for normality.
I was a teen mom. Those circumstances interrupted my secondary education. Thankfully, and thanks to a support network, I defied the odds so that there was not a permanent knock-on effect to interrupt my life.
I know what it is to fall among that at-risk, underserved segment of society where advocacy, though present, is insufficient, and where people talk against, about and for you but scarcely to you. Team Antigua Island Girls will use our platform to do something positive and tangible in this regard.
Through our example, by taking on the “world’s toughest row,” and raising funds for our charity, we will send a message to every girl (and boy – I am the mother or two boys) that hurdles can be surmounted; that everyone’s story has chapters, twists and turns and it’s important to keep writing and revising.
I urge you to support us. The operational costs are USD $150,000.00, and we welcome your financial assistance whether it is in the four sponsorship tiers (platinum, gold, silver, bronze) that create remarkable advertising and publicity opportunities, or donations (cash or in-kind) that will get you listed among the patrons in all of our media.
Beyond the funds needed to get us to the starting line, we’re counting on your kindness to help us raise money for Cottage of Hope.
Together we can. Together we must.