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Emma Wolstenholme's GB Row launch brings cadet challenge to life

A large crowd of well-wishers cheered on Royal Air Force Air Cadet Ambassador Emma Wolstenholme as she launched her 2,000 mile GB Row Challenge at Tower Bridge, London. 

Emma is the skipper of the all-female Team Ithaca, who will be rowing against changeable winds and fast turning tides as they attempt to successfully circumnavigate Great Britain. 

Follow Emma’s journey live here: Tracker 2023 - GB Row Challenge 

“It will just be the six of us when we are out there, we will be doing two hours on and two hours off,” said Emma, ahead of the start on the River Thames. 

“There’s no engine, no sails and no safety boat. It’s just us and we have to rely on ourselves. 

“As a team we’ve all got our strengths and weaknesses but we all pull together. 

“We’ve got a lot of power and a lot of strength which is what you really need.” 

Sgt Busby, Emma Wolstenholme, Cpl Dunk, and CWO Dally at the launch.

Emma said she was expecting a tough start due to headwinds but hoped conditions would improve once they were in the English Channel. 

CWO Dally, Cpl Dunk and Sgt Busby from 2531 (Burnham on Crouch) DF Sqn were among the crowd sending Emma’s team off, along with their OC.

The trio – who have named themsevles the Three Flying Fish - are aiming to compete in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge in 2025, which will involve rowing 3,000 miles from the Canary Islands to Antigua.   

They picked up tips from Emma ahead of launch and also got to sit in the GB Row Challenge boat while it was moored in St Katharine's Docks. 

See Emma talking to the Three Flying Fish and the start of her GB Row Challenge

The cadets and OC from 2531 (Burnham on Crouch) DF Sqn watch the boat prepare to enter the River Thames

Emma, a former 352 (Burnley) Sqn cadet, highlighted the Three Flying Fish as she addressed the supporters and sponsors at the Tower Hotel. 

“These three amazing young people have got their own challenge and I’m trying to support them as well as giving them some guidance,” said Emma, who served in the RAF for 16 years and was the last woman out of Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, in 2014.  

CWO Dally said of the event: “It has been incredible to be here and to be a part of it. Our own challenge just became a lot more real after seeing this.”  

The teenagers are aiming to raise £120,000 in sponsorship for the challenge, which would make them the youngest trio to ever row the Atlantic Ocean. 

Donate to the Three Flying Fish on their Go Fund Me page

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