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Galway Rower Karen Weekes Sets Off on Her Solo Atlantic Bid

6th December 2021
Solo row across the Atlantic - Karen Weekes anticipates it will take about 70 days to row from Gran Canaria to Barbados, without any support vessel
Solo row across the Atlantic - Karen Weekes anticipates it will take about 70 days to row from Gran Canaria to Barbados, without any support vessel

Sports psychologist Dr Karen Weekes is due to set off from the Canaries to the Caribbean today in her bid to become the first Irish woman to row solo across the Atlantic.

Weekes will undertake the 4,800 km (3,000 miles) row in her vessel, Millie, named after her mother.

Her #SheCanDo2021 campaign aims to encourage more women and girls into endurance sport.

Weekes anticipates it will take about 70 days to row from Gran Canaria to Barbados, without any support vessel.

Weekes, who lives in Kinvara, Co Galway, says she will be rowing about 16 hours a day.

She will be only the 20th woman to row any ocean on the globe solo on completing the transit.

Weekes holds a doctorate in sports psychology, and lectures at Munster Technological University.

She has sailed the Atlantic twice, circumnavigated both Ireland and the Lofoten Islands off Norway in a kayak, and has cycled solo and unsupported 4,000 miles across Canada, through Alaska and the Yukon.

She has also solo cycled from Nordkapp in northern Norway to Helsinki in Finland.

Along with Orla Knight, a physical education teacher at Castletroy College in Co Limerick, she cycled across North America from San Francisco to Washington DC.

Weekes has trekked in Nepal and Pakistan and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya.

She says the campaign is “dually focused”, in following her preparation for, and experience during the voyage, and “providing a platform for encouraging women, and girls, to believe in their abilities to succeed”.

She also aims to illuminate two of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically ‘gender equality’ and ‘life below water’, which focuses on the conservation of oceans and marine life.

Her progress can be followed on her tracker on this link here and listen to Weekes in conversation with Afloat's Lorna Siggins about the row on her Wavelength's podcast here

Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Search and Rescue: True stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116 (2022); Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004); and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010). She is also co-producer with Sarah Blake of the Doc on One "Miracle in Galway Bay" which recently won a Celtic Media Award

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