TWO friends will set off to row more than 3,000 miles this week in a bid to break a world record.

Jemma Rix and Lauren Woodwiss, known as team Whale of a Time, have been training for their Atlantic challenge. It will take them more than a million strokes to cover the distance from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua.

Jemma, 29, from Colchester, said they have never rowed before taking on the adventure but wanted to push themselves to the limit in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

They set off on Wednesday and hope to beat the world record of 50 days for a female pair to cross from east to west.

She said: “We are at the start line and have been prepping our boat, getting everything ready.

“Now we are starting to get a better idea of the weather we can plan our route.

“It’s really hot here, it’s about 22 degrees and there is bright sunshine which is lovely.”

There are 27 other teams taking part in the challenge.

Jemma said: “I think now we are here the fears have eased as we are all like-minded people, but the same concerns are still there about rowing in the dark, sharks and sunburn.”

Their mission is to raise funds for their three chosen charities while also raising awareness of global food waste.

During their time at sea, they will be consuming up to 1,000 dehydrated meals. They will only eat surplus or waste food.

The challenge will be tough, with more people having gone into space than row the Atlantic. Only seven female pairs have made it across the Atlantic so far.

Jemma, who lives in Great Horkesley, said she would be celebrating her 30th birthday at sea with Lauren.

The pair will be raising money for Cancer Research UK, Fair Share which fights hunger, and The Mintridge Foundation, which supports children. Visit to keep up to date with their challenge.