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Rower Karen Weekes Aims to Be First Irish Female to Complete the Solo Atlantic Crossing

13th May 2021
Karen Weekes aims to become the first Irish female to complete the solo crossing
If she completes it, Weekes will be only the 20th woman to row any ocean on the globe solo.

“A near-collision with a drilling ship, two capsizes, lots of peanut butter and Nutella consumed” was how Jasmine Harrison (21) of North Yorkshire described her successful Atlantic crossing earlier this year.

Harrison set a new world record for the youngest female to solo row the 3,000 mile (4,800km) journey from the Canaries to Antigua.

Kilkenny-born seasoned adventurer Dr Karen Weekes aims to become the first Irish female to complete the solo crossing.

If she completes it, Weekes will be only the 20th woman to row any ocean on the globe solo.

A sistership to the Rannock 25 Solo rowing boat in which Karen Weekes plans to cross the Atlantic A sistership to the Rannock 25 Solo rowing boat in which Karen Weekes plans to cross the Atlantic

As Afloat reported previously, Weekes, who lives in Kinvara, Co Galway, 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.

“Big seas, potential capsize, severe weather or marlin attacks” might explain why only 19 women worldwide have ever completed solo ocean rows, she says of her latest adventure.

Weekes focuses on women’s empowerment as part of her “#Shecando2021” campaign, which is seeking sponsors for the effort.

She says the campaign aims to provide a “platform for encouraging women, and girls, to believe in their abilities to succeed”.

Weekes took Wavelengths paddleboarding off Kinvara recently for an interview which was first broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1’s programme Seascapes.

More information on her campaign is 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 Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004) on Irish helicopter search and rescue; and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010).

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