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Displaying items by tag: Karen Weekes

Ireland’s first solo transatlantic oarswoman Dr Karen Weekes is to lead the St Patrick’s Day parade in Kinvara, Co Galway today.

Weekes, who rowed into Barbados on February 24th, spent almost 81 days at sea on her 3,000 nautical mile transit from the Canaries.

She was invited by the Kinvara community to become “grand marshal” for the St Patrick’s day parade.

The Afloat Sailor of the Month for February will travel in an open-top convertible through the harbour village and will be followed by representatives of the Shecando campaign which she established as part of her rowing effort.

Weekes has pledged to continue the work of the Shecando campaign, which aims to encourage more young women into adventure sports and to highlight UN sustainability goals.

The Kinvara parade returns after a two-year break due to Covid-19 and will involve traditional musicians, a drum and samba band and youth and community groups. Children participating have been asked to make flags or hearts in Ukrainian colours to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Listen to Afloat's recent podcast with Weekes here

Published in Coastal Rowing
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“So your boat goes up the size of the wave, and then it goes down a bit and sometimes you might surf it or whatever but yeah, they were very very big..”.

I’m useless at measuring things, I don’t know what height.... but they weren’t aggressive to me, which was nice. ..”

The words of Dr Karen Weekes the morning after her triumphant arrival into Barbados to become the first Irish woman to row solo across the Atlantic.

The first Irish woman to row solo across the Atlantic nears the finish in Barbados Photo: Mick MurphyThe first Irish woman to row solo across the Atlantic nears the finish in Barbados Photo: Mick Murphy

About 30 of her team, close friends and family flew to Barbados to greet her, and there was a large crowd in Tully’s Bar in Kinvara to watch her welcome on social media.

“Even this morning my body is aching, and it hasn’t been for 81 days,” she said, expressing relief at a break from the intensity of it.

“You just can’t turn off at all...”

Weekes, who has been congratulated by President Michael D Higgins and is Afloat’s Sailor of the Month, says she plans to “plant spuds” back home in Kinvara, Co Galway.

However, she also plans to keep her Shecando campaign going to encourage young women into adventure sports and to highlight UN sustainability goals and ocean conservation.

She spoke to Wavelengths (below) from Bridgetown in Barbados.

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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In rowing solo and completely unaccompanied across the Atlantic, Dr Karen Weekes (54) - of Kinvara on Galway Bay - achieved so many “firsts” when she reached Barbados from the Canaries on Thursday, February 24th that it’s difficult to tabulate them all. Perhaps it’s better to record that, as an endurance challenge enthusiast and sports psychologist, she will have been more aware than most of the enormity of what she was undertaking. Her successful arrival in good physical and mental condition after 80 days bears testimony to her strength of character, and in so doing, she has further broadened our concept of what constitutes a successful sailor.

Dr Karen Weekes during pre-Transatlantic preparation.Dr Karen Weekes during pre-Transatlantic preparation

Published in Sailor of the Month
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Ireland’s first solo transatlantic oarswoman Dr Karen Weekes crossed the finishing line off Barbados yesterday evening after 80 days at sea.

Light winds made for a slow final two-knot passage into the Caribbean island where a team of Irish supporters joined Bajans to welcome her ashore.

However, official adjudicator the Ocean Rowing Society confirmed that her 2,614 nautical mile trip was “100 per cent” complete last night, even as she was waiting to step ashore.

Ocean rowers have to pass through a set of co-ordinates set by the society in the vicinity of land to have completed their transit.

Weekes, a sports psychologist from Kinvara, Co Galway, becomes not only the first Irish woman to have completed the solo crossing, but the 20th female globally to have rowed an ocean on her own.

Cork mountaineer and fellow adventurer Mick Murphy, who was one of the welcoming party, confirmed that a couple of boats had gone out to meet her.

Dr Karen Weekes The Ocean Rowing Society confirmed that Weekes' 2,614 nautical mile trip was “100 per cent” complete last night, even as she was waiting to step ashore Photo: Mick Murphy

Recording her last video by sunset on her 79th day out, Weekes was in good spirits but spoke of a “hard grind” against a north-easterly wind which was pushing her constantly south towards the Venezuelan coastline.

However, “patience is the key”, she said, adding she couldn’t wait to reach land again and meet her project team and sponsors who have given her so much support over the past year.

Atlantic storms and squalls, a close encounter with a hammerhead shark and early steering problems were among her many hurdles after she set out from Puerto de Mogan, Gran Canaria on December 6th.

On her birthday, she completed one of the first of several swims under “Millie” to clear the hull of barnacles slowing progress.

She witnessed spectacular meteor showers, was escorted by dolphins and curious dorade fish, and provided a refugee for exhausted storm petrels.

However, she said her main focus on approach to southern Barbados was to avoid shipping and to be mindful of coral reef.

Weekes, who lectures at Munster Technological University, has already sailed the Atlantic twice, circumnavigated both Ireland and the Lofoten islands off Norway in a kayak.

She has cycled solo and unsupported 4,000 miles across Canada, through Alaska and the Yukon among other adventures

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.

Unlike other extreme challenges, a solo row allows no time for a break or a rest, she has pointed out.

Weekes is undertaking her row, after costs, for two charities, the Laura Lynn Foundation and the RNLI.

A welcome reception has been planned for her by Barbados Tourism in Bridgetown, while well wishers in Kinvara gathered in Tully’s Bar last night to watch her final row relayed by satellite onto a big screen.

More details on her GoFundMe page and on her progress tracker are on her website here

Published in Coastal Rowing

After a gruelling 80 days at sea, Dr Karen Weekes aims to land on a beach in Barbados on Thursday morning (Feb 24) and become the first Irish woman to have rowed solo across the Atlantic.

Weekes, a sports psychologist based in Kinvara, Co Galway, spoke of a “hard grind” against a north-easterly wind on Wednesday which was pushing her constantly south on her last 60 nautical miles in.

However, “patience is the key”, she said, adding she couldn’t wait to reach land again after 79 days and nights alone on the ocean with an average of four hours sleep.

Weekes has weathered many storms, a close encounter with a hammerhead shark, and completed several swims under her Rannoch 25 vessel “Millie” to clear the hull during her 3,000-mile solo transit.

She has witnessed spectacular meteor showers, been escorted by dolphins and curious dorade fish, and provided a refugee for exhausted storm petrels.

However, she said her main focus on approach to southern Barbados is to avoid shipping and to be mindful of coral reef.

Once she is in the vicinity of land, she will have completed the crossing – when she will also become the 20th woman to have rowed an ocean solo.

Weekes, who lectures at Munster Technological University, set out on December 6th last to row the 3,000 miles from Puerto de Mogan, Gran Canaria to Barbados.

She has already 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 among other adventures

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.

Unlike other extreme challenges, a solo row allows no time for a break or a rest, she has pointed out.

Weekes is undertaking her row, after costs, for two charities, the Laura Lynn Foundation and the RNLI.

A welcoming party from Ireland which is in Barbados this week includes her campaign manager and Letterkenny IT lecturer, Suzanne Kennedy.

Kennedy said she expected Weekes would land early on Thursday into south-east Barbados, weather permitting. A welcome reception has been planned for her by Barbados Tourism in Bridgetown.

More details on her GoFundMe page and on her progress tracker are on her website here

Published in Coastal Rowing
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A spectacular meteor shower, a close encounter with a hammerhead shark and a brief refuge for exhausted storm petrels – these are just some of the recent experiences recorded by Dr Karen Weekes on her solo row across the Atlantic.

Weekes reached the halfway mark on her 3,000 mile voyage this week with little fanfare, remarking that she is enjoying the ordeal so much at this stage that she is in no hurry to reach Barbados. Speaking to Wavelengths, she said she is pretty tired with just four hours sleep most nights.

And, unlike other extreme challenges like long-distance cycles, a solo row allows no time for a breakaway or a rest.

She spent her birthday cleaning barnacles off the hull of Millie, the craft she has named after her late mother. She says she expects to be doing that fairly frequently, due to the build-up every ten days or so.

Weekes was upbeat about her physical and mental state, and about weather and sea conditions. She reported that her Rannoch 25 ocean rowing craft is performing very well.

Weekes is undertaking her row, after costs, for two charities, the Laura Lynn Foundation and the RNLI, and there are regular updates on social media, including Facebook and Instagram.

More details on her GoFundMe page and on her progress tracker are on her website here

Listen to Karen Weekes below in interview with Lorna Siggins

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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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 

Published in Wavelength Podcast

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

Published in Coastal Rowing
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“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

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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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...

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