The women’s Czar crew from the Tresco & Bryher Gig Rowing Club are aiming to become the first female gig crew to row from the Isles of Scilly to Penzance and back.
The challenge will see the six-strong crew and coxswain row the Czar nearly 100 miles from Tresco to the mainland, with the return leg the next day.
They hope to raise £3,500 to buy new racing paddles and maintain the Club's collection of four pilot gigs - including the Czar, one of the few remaining Victorian era Scillonian pilot gigs.
The crew came 11th in the World Pilot Gig Championships held in May 2018 and won this year's points season. However, the mainland row will be their biggest test of endurance yet.
The journey will mark the 140th anniversary of the Czar gig, which was built in 1879. It will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of its maiden mainland row.
The crew consists of Tresco Abbey Garden Visitor Centre supervisor Emma Bagnall-Oakeley, Island share administrator Michelle Oyler and Tresco Stores’ Heather Meyrick, with assistant head gardener of Tresco Abbey Garden Jon Taylor as coxswain. They are joined by Bryher residents Francesca McNeill of Hell Bay Hotel and Joanne Matthews of Bryher Campsite, as well as Dee Williams from St Mary's.
Francesca said: “This is a huge challenge for us, but we’re very excited to be able to mark such a milestone in the Czar’s history with such an adventurous journey! Crucially, the funds we hope to raise will help ensure that our Scillonian gigs continue to be kept alive and maintained for many years yet to come.”
To help the Czar girls hit their target, you can sponsor them online at their JustGiving page or send a cheque to: Tresco & Bryher Rowing Club, c/o The Island Office, Tresco, Isles of Scilly, TR24 0QQ.
For further information about the challenge please visit: https://www.tresco.co.uk/island-news/penzance-back-challenge .
Watch the row live at https://www.facebook.com/TrescoBryherRowing/ .