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Australia to Africa rowing challenge for King's Lynn paramedic

Attempting to row from Australia to Africa without stopping for 100 days sounds daunting-but that is exactly what a Lynn paramedic will be taking on next year.

Rachel Hearn is the sole representative from Norfolk in a team of eight aiming to become the first people to row across two oceans in one year.

The ‘Brain Waves’ team will be raising funds for Parkinson’s Disease and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Rachel Hearn
Rachel Hearn

After a team of four set off from Lanzarote to the Caribbean in January, Miss Hearn will form part of a second team rowing across the Indian Ocean and potentially the first ever crossing from Australia to mainland Africa.

She said: “I know that the Indian Ocean leg is a huge challenge and a world’s first for a reason.

“I wouldn’t have any confidence or belief in myself to do it alone but I know that with the team we have, we can achieve it.

“I work best as a team and like being around people to keep me motivated and to help focus on building up the team.”

The team are fundraising in two parts for the challenge.

Initially they will need around £80,000 from sponsors to cover the costs of the boat, satellite navigation, wet weather gear and medical supplies.

They will then be raising money for the designated charities ahead of the challenge, which is expected to be in the region of 8,500 miles overall.

In the past, Miss Hearn said she has helped out as a paramedic at extreme ultra marathon events including across the Namibian desert and the arctic north of Canada in -50C conditions.

She said:”I’ve never undertaken anything like this myself, but being on the sidelines and meeting all these normal people who take on and complete these huge challenges has always got me wondering whether I’ve got what it takes to do it.”

The crew will be rowing in pairs, running on a constant shift pattern of two hours rowing followed by two hours resting for 24 hours a day.

This means for the Indian Ocean shift, the cew will be getting no more than 90 minutes of sleep at a time.

A 29ft long boat will be used, which is just under 6ft wide.

Parkinson’s Disease was chosen as a charity after the organiser, Billy Taylor, had a friend diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s in his 40s.

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