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Irish Rower Karen Weekes & Her Solo Row Across the Atlantic to Barbados (Podcast with Shore Manager Suzanne Kennedy)

24th December 2021
Dr Karen Weekes and Dr Suzanne Kennedy in Puerto de Mogán in the Canaries before Weekes set off on her 3,000-mile row to Barbados.
Dr Karen Weekes (left) and Dr Suzanne Kennedy in Puerto de Mogán in the Canaries before Weekes set off on her 3,000-mile row to Barbados

Dr Karen Weekes will be spending Christmas Day, New Year’s day and more at sea on her 3,000-mile row from the Canaries to the Caribbean in her bid to become the first Irish woman to row solo across the Atlantic.

Weekes, the Kinvara-based sports psychologist and lecturer at Munster Technological University, set off in her vessel Millie, named after mother, from Gran Canaria on December 6th.

Her campaign manager Suzanne Kennedy spoke to Wavelengths about the challenges she faces, and how they have both sailed the same route – heading south till the butter melted, as Kennedy put it – and so they both have some idea of what’s ahead.

Weekes 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.

Dr Karen Weekes (left) and Dr Suzanne Kennedy - many adventures togetherDr Karen Weekes (left) and Dr Suzanne Kennedy - many adventures together

She has shared many adventures with Kennedy, a lecturer in physical education and sport at Letterkenny Institute of Technology and highly experienced sea kayaker, sailor and mountain biker.

As Kennedy explains, part of her focus is on researching the impact of the experience on her own psychology. The Shecando campaign also aims to provide a platform for encouraging women, and girls, to believe in their abilities to succeed”, and to highlight two of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically “gender equality” and “life below water”.

Karen Weekes’s progress on her 70-day row to Barbados can be followed on her tracker on the link below, and all funds raised on the Gofundme page for Shecando2021 from the day she started rowing in December will go to two charities, Laura Lynn and the RNLI.

Listen to Lorna Siggins speaking with Weekes here and check out the tracker 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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Afloat's Wavelengths Podcast with Lorna Siggins

Weekly dispatches from the Irish coast with journalist Lorna Siggins, talking to people in the maritime sphere. Topics range from marine science and research to renewable energy, fishing, aquaculture, archaeology, history, music and more...