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British female rowers break Atlantic records

Four British female rowers reach Antigua Image copyright BEN DUFFY
Image caption From left to right: Olivia Bolesworth, Gee Purdy, Bella Collins and Lauren Morton celebrate their arrival in Antigua

Four British women have become the youngest and fastest all-female crew of four to row across the Atlantic Ocean.

Gee Purdy, 23, Bella Collins, 23, Lauren Morton, 26, and Olivia Bolesworth, 27, completed the 3,000 nautical mile journey in 40 days.

They fought off a hurricane, 50ft (15m) waves and intense bouts of sea sickness to win a place in the record books.

They were also raising money for Plan UK's "Because I am a girl" campaign, a global womens' rights movement.

'Question your sanity'

The women - under the team name Row Like A Girl - were taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, along with numerous other teams.

No outside assistance is permitted, so they had to carry all the food and equipment they would need for the crossing.

They left the Canary island of La Gomera on 20 December and reached Antigua in the Caribbean on Friday.

Skipper Ms Morton said: "We're over the moon to make it here to Antigua, and to do it in record time really is the icing on the cake.

"This race challenges you so much, mentally and physically. We're exhausted but can't wait for the party to start in Antigua."

Image copyright Ben Duffy Photography

Ms Purdy said it had been an "extraordinary journey".

"There's no doubt that there were times where you question your sanity, sitting in the middle of the Atlantic… in a rowing boat, oars in and a massive storm tossing you around the ocean," she said.

"The feeling though of pure ecstasy to see the finishing line, to see our families and friends after 40 days, 3,000 miles made it all worth it."

In 2012 during the Talisker challenge, a crew of five women broke the record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by an all-female team - they took 45 days.

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