A TRIO of women hope to sail into the record books by taking part in the ultimate endurance challenge – rowing 2,700 miles across the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco to Hawaii.

Lily Lower, 27, Bella Collins, 28, and Mary Sutherland, 41, from Burnham have teamed up with Purusha Gordon, 43, from Wiltshire, to take part in the Great Pacific Race.

Dubbed the Ocean Sheroes, they set off yesterday from beneath the Golden Gate Bridge in their boat Fenris.

It is a Rannoch R45, custom-built by Bella’s uncle, Charlie Pitcher, at Rannoch Adventures in Burnham.

Ocean Shereoes


The Ocean Sheroes will row in pairs, two hours on, two hours off, throughout the day and night burning up to 8,500 calories each day.

Since its launch in 2014, only 22 teams have ever completed the Great Pacific Race, with just two four-person, all-female teams reaching the finish line.

The team is facing physical and mental challenges, including body sores, seasickness, extreme exhaustion and fatigue.

Lily started sailing at the age of eight and has competed in three Fastnet Races and a trans-Atlantic race.

Ocean Shereoes


She is passionate about sustainability and wants to encourage people to make a change in their every day lives.

She said: “I wanted to take up this challenge because I’ve always enjoyed challenging myself, whether that be in an academic or work setting or through sport, and this is the ultimate challenge.

“I’ve got a fair bit of offshore sailing experience, and took up rowing at university, so ocean rowing combines the two sports.”

The team is looking to raise £60,000 for the Seabin Project. The ocean-cleaning technology, helps to create cleaner seas with healthier marine life by catching an estimated 1.5 tonnes of marine debris per year, including micro-plastics, microfibres, fuel and oil.

Bella is an avid sailor and surfer, and is more comfortable on water than land, rowing across the Atlantic in 2015/16.

Ocean Shereoes


She said: “I am doing this race because I love to have a challenge outside of my day-to-day life, where I’m learning about incredible charities like the Seabin Project and meeting inspiring people from all walks of life.

“It’s also about the adventure. There aren’t many places left in the world that are unexplored – I feel incredibly privileged to be able to see the marine landscape of the mid-Pacific.”

Keen sailor Mary already has three world records and races anything that floats.

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When not on the water, she loves the mountains and hopes one day to start a sanctuary for injured and retired animals with a vineyard on the side.

The Ocean Sheroes have had more than their fair share of pandemic problems.

Lockdown has limited training and three of them contracted Covid-19.

They also had to leave the UK a fortnight earlier than planned so they could quarantine.

The team are due to set off on their epic voyage at 1.30pm on Monday.