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All-female rowing team complete epic journey

After 257 days at sea, covering 8,446 miles in their 29-foot long rowing boat called Doris, the amazing all-female “Coxless Crew” have reached their destination.

More: Why all young girls (and boys) should know about the all-female “Coxless Crew”

On Monday the crew posted on their Facebook page: “More than 9 months after Doris set off from San Francisco, we have made land in Cairns, Australia. 257 days at sea, nearly 6200 hours of rowing, 1020+ dehydrated meals consumed, 7700+ litres of water drunk, 12 giant tubs of sudocrem, sea creatures, passing ships, sunsets, sunrises, torrential rain, black nights, starry nights, huge swells, flat calm, sea sickness, salt sores, storms, swimming, “showering”, “bucketing”, birthdays, Christmas, New Years, tears, hugs, laugher and unbreakable bonds formed between the 6 of us. (sic)”

The crew — three permanent members and three others each rowing one leg — are now celebrating two world records: the first all-female team and the first team of four to row the Pacific.

Permanent crew members, Brits Laura Penhaul, 32, Natalia Cohen, 40, and Emma Mitchell, 30, last saw dry land in Samoa. They embraced each other and final leg rower Meg Dyos as they entered the Marlin Marina in Cairns.

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The 9,200-mile trip took three months longer than originally planned, making the achievement even more impressive. Writing on their blog on Sunday, they described “an exhausting and emotional few days” as they made their approach to land.

“The last 8,500 nautical miles don’t matter anymore, it is all about these last 20. It’s fair to say that with physical exhaustion, sleep deprivation and a lack of savoury food, we are being tested to our limits. However, this is where we draw on our SPIRIT, row hard, row strong, row together.”

The six women had an adventure most of us only dream of, rowing continuously as pairs in two-hour shifts, sleeping 90 minutes at a time and eating 5,000 calories a day to keep their strength up. Freeze-dried meals were washed down with desalinated sea water, with protein bars, chocolate, fruit and nuts for snacks.

They endured a tropical storm, battled waves the height of houses and even had to contend with a humpback whale making an appearance only yards from the boat.

The expedition took a toll on their health too, with the women suffering from painful sores due to the constant drenching from rain and seawater and facing extremely hot temperatures.

Congratulations Laura Penhaul, Natalia Cohen, Emma Mitchell, Meg Dyos, Isabel Burnham and Lizanne van Vuuren. You rock!

So far the Coxless Crew has raised over £45,000 for charities Walking With The Wounded and Breast Cancer Care. Their adventure has been filmed for an upcoming documentary, Losing Sight Of Shore.

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