TWO friends have broken a world record for rowing across the just over an hour.

It was a tight turnaround for novice rowers Jemma Rix and Lauren Woodwiss, who set out on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in December.

Against the odds, they managed to cover the distance from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in 50 days, five hours and 53 minutes.

The 3,000 mile journey seemed the ultimate challenge for the friends, who were not experienced rowers, and had only undertaken a small amount of training.

They spent Christmas Day eating dehydrated turkey and had plenty of chocolate to keep them going.

Jemma, 30, from Great Horkesley, even spent her birthday out at sea.

Despite some treacherous weather and spooky sightings of monster fish, the two were beaming when they crossed the finish line and said they were grateful for the support of so many fans back home.

Their team name, Whale of a Time, turned out to be perfectly suitable.

As well as experiencing the challenge of a lifetime, the women beat the world record for a female pair to cross the Atlantic from east to west.

Their original estimated time of arrival was February 11 but they reached their destination with days to spare.

Atlantic Campaigns did a live film of the women pulling into Antigua.

When asked how they were feeling the pair, who were slightly out of breath after the final push, said: “Tired, and ready for a Pina Colada.”

Claps and cheers were heard, and the commentator praised the duo, saying their achievement was “absolutely incredible”.

She is heard saying: “It’s an incredible effort and very inspiring, I am totally in awe of these ladies.”

Jemma and Lauren set off flairs to mark the end of their journey and posed for photos before heading off to dry land for a well-deserved rest and celebration.

In their latest blog post they said: “We just want to say a huge thank you to all those who have donated to our chosen charities and supported our journey.

“We can’t thank you enough and hopefully we look forward to catching up with most on our return.”

The challenge was always going to be tough, with more people having gone into space than row the Atlantic.

Only seven female pairs had made it across the Atlantic before Jemma and Lauren.

They were rowing two hours on, two hours off, from December 12.

As well as facing 40-foot waves, the women had their own fears to face.

Jemma said sunburn was a big concern, as was rowing in the dark.

Personal trainer Lauren had created a programme for the pair to build up their strength and endurance.

The friends are raising money for Cancer Research UK, Fair Share which fights hunger, and The Mintridge Foundation which supports the wellbeing of children and young people.

They have already raised an astonishing £25,000.

The women were also raising awareness of global food waste.

During their time at sea, they set themselves the extra challenge of consuming up to 1,000 dehydrated meals, only eating surplus or waste food.

To donate to their fundraising appeal, visit

To watch the videos of the friends finishing the challenge, visit Atlantic Campaigns on Facebook.