IT’S happy 60th birthday to intrepid oarswoman Elaine Theaker today - but she’s all at sea - quite literally - rowing across the Pacific!
There will be no plush restaurant or slap-up party for the retired Abergavenny solicitor, who took up rowing on the Wye at Monmouth Rowing Club 10 years ago, and rowed across the Atlantic in a three-woman crew in 2018.
The fizz will have to stay on ice as Elaine and her five-boat Team FlyinFish crew, which includes former RAF serviceman Huw Carden from Dingestow, look to make the giant 2,800-mile leap from California to Hawaii.
They rowed out of Monterey harbour at dawn on Monday, with at least 30 days of back-breaking rowing in front of them.
Billed as ‘The World’s Toughest Row’, Monmouth Rowing Club member Elaine is bidding to become the oldest woman to row across both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Before heading out to sea, she said: “It feels surreal that the time has almost arrived for us to execute the careful plan we have been hatching to experience the very best team bonding doing something extraordinary together; to row across a part of the Pacific ocean only ever journeyed by less than 100 individuals before us...
“But there is one overarching goal… to arrive in Hawaii the very best of friends, bound together by sharing a unique experience and creating everlasting memories that will stay with us forever.”
Only 82 people in 33 boats have successfully rowed from mainland USA to the Hawaiian islands, and no other crew of five has successfully made the crossing.
Five years ago, Elaine and Shropshire crewmates and fellow mums Di Carrington and Sharon Magrath completed the epic 2,700-mile 60-day row across the Atlantic, becoming the oldest women’s crew and the first all female threesome to achieve the feat.
The other crew members this time are Ali Wannell from Devon, Andy Warner from Hampshire and Neil Blackeby from Cornwall.
Keep up to speed with their progress at www.worldstoughestrow.com, on its YouTube channel and www.facebook.com/TeamFlyinFish/
The crew are supporting Air Ambulances UK at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Flyin-Fish1