The Bristol Gulls Complete the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge

It’s been a little while since the Bristol Gulls arrived back on land after successfully completing one of the Worlds Toughest Rowing Races, in an eco boat! I met the Team randomly at a service station in Spring 2020, when they were on route home from a training week in the wilds of Scotland. Following this, we did a mental strength & performance Impact coaching session as a Team, with some individual exercises to help support the extreme adventure. I caught up with Sofia, one of the Team currently in Uruguay, about how it all went.

The Bristol Gulls is a team of four women who took on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2020, the world’s toughest rowing race, to raise awareness of ocean pollution and drowning prevention.


Lorna, Phoebe, Sarah and Sofia are the first team to have successfully completed the race in a boat made in an environmentally-friendly way.

The Gulls all have a deep connection, love and respect for our oceans, which is why they are raising donations for the RNLI Portishead and Clean Up Bristol Harbour.

Their mission is to be the trailblazers that inspire others to embrace sustainable change and equality.

Four Bristol-based ladies, Lorna Carter, Sofia Deambrosi, Sarah Hunt and Phoebe Wright completed a 3000 nautical mile race completely unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean on January 27th 2021 after 46 days, 7 hours and 50 minutes at sea! Known as ‘The Bristol Gulls’, the ocean rowing team competed in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean. They became the first crew in the race’s history to complete the row in an Eco Boat. The boat was manufactured from more sustainable materials and processes in order to lower its impact on the environment; it contains around 10,000 recycled plastic bottles in its foam core alone!

Due to Covid-19, the team had a compressed training schedule in their boat in the lead up to the race, but that didn’t deter the Gulls from preparing as best they could physically and mentally in the lead up. The team trained at home building muscle and bodyweight, as well as learning new skills in navigation and sea safety and even dedicating many hours to team building and performance. This put them in a good place to start rowing at sea both at their training base in Exmouth and on a week-long row around the Isle of Skye.

The crossing tested the crew in many aspects of endurance, but the four women stepped off the other side as one resilient team. The ladies supported each other during the row and the many challenges they were presented with. Some of the most challenging aspects of the row included: sleep deprivation, seasickness, isolation, big weather, infection, capsize and trying to enjoy the same freeze dried meals for 46 days!!! Whilst the team certainly agree its “The World’s Toughest Row”, they were treated to so many amazing experiences whilst on the open ocean. Main highlights were a visit from a pod of orca in the dark, 365° sunsets, star studded night skies, observing the full moon cycle and swimming in up to 5 mile deep ocean!

Sustainability was a key part of the campaign and something the whole team is passionate about! They researched all avenues when it came to having the most sustainable row including clothing, equipment, food, packaging, shipping and even the boat they’ll row in. No stone was left unturned and the Gulls hope that their challenge encourages more people to make small sustainable changes in their everyday lives.

 The team are well on track to hit their fundraising targets of £11,000 for Portishead RNLI and £5000 for Clean Up Bristol Harbour; two organisations that share their mission to promote a safe and healthy relationship with our oceans. If you’d like to make a donation to these causes, you can do so through their JustGiving page

HUGE Well Done to the Bristol Gulls, a remarkable achievement especially during the last pandemic year. Such a privilege to be a tiny part of your amazing support Team, and I really look forward to watching what’s next….. !

To find out more about them visit their website here.

If you’d like to make a donation you can do so here.

  • For bespoke Team & 1;1 Mental Strength & Perforamnce Coaching with Kim, send her a confidential email to discuss more

You can follow them and their current individual adventures on Youtube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

If you need 1;1 online coaching support or if you have any questions do get in touch,

Photo credit: Bristol Gulls