Four Antiguan women set out to make history as they became the first all-Black team to voluntarily row across the Atlantic Ocean. According to BET, Elvira Bell, Christal Clashing, Kevinia Francis and Samara Emmanuel also known as the Antigua Island Girls took part in the annual Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
This is known as one of the toughest rows and the ladies rowed over 3,000 miles from La Gomera all the way to Antigua. Spectators from all over the world watched as they crossed the finish line after nearly 50 days.
Emmanuel, who is the yacht captain, told BET, “I compare this to a pregnancy. We had nine months to prepare, 47 days of labor, and our birth was right there at the finish line, where everyone was waiting for us to complete our baby.”
While out on sea the women faced harsh weather, mental as well as physical exhaustion because of the lack of wind that was supposed to help them. The ladies also struggled with surviving off of water as they had to ration food.
Francis recalls, “Three days before we got home, we encountered a rogue wave. It wasn’t a treacherous or windy night at all, it was actually a very calm night. Out of nowhere, there was a rogue wave that slammed against our boat and it went 90 degrees perpendicular, shoving me into the safety strap and throwing us all for a loop.”
Through it all the ladies were still able to get to victory.
Even after all that one of the team members Clashing said, “I was simply proud. I dreamed of crossing that finish line and waving that flair in my hand. I was proud of our iconic image, it sums up all that we are: heroic.”
As they go back to living life off the boat the team said, “Our message is this: you are the essence of life, of all things great and small. You are necessary and important, so don’t shy away from anything. Be you, dream big, act consistently and persistently—don’t give up! Break all barriers anybody puts ahead of you. And, ultimately, love yourself. You have been created with great purpose.”
Congratulations to these ladies!