ST. JOHN’S, Antigua (March 23, 2023)—Just under three months. That’s how much time is left before the intrepid Team Antigua Island Girls begin their sophomore row, the Pacific Challenge. The Pacific Challenge, in its inaugural year, is 2,800 nautical miles from Monterey, California to Kauai, Hawaii.
While the team trains for the row, they are asking the community to pull with them to help raise the funds required. From the boat and the safety fixtures to the mandatory gear, food, towing, shipping, airfare and accommodation, training and more, ocean rowing is an expensive undertaking. TAIG still needs to raise approximately XCD $400,000 to get to the starting line, and more for its charity.
TAIG is raising money to establish a home for girls in conflict with the law. The lack of a correctional facility for girls means that those who transgress the law are sent either to group homes or to the lone penal facility, exacerbating the problems. The initiative is a partnership with the Family and Social Services Division in the Ministry of Social Transformation.
The team has various levels of sponsorship, from platinum at USD $100K; Diamond USD $75K; Gold USD $50K; Silver USD $25K; Bronze USD $10K; Oars USD $12K single and USD $18k pair; Row Essentials USD $5K; and Boosters USD $750 to Sponsor-a-Mile XCD $100; and Feed-a-Rower XCD $40 per meal. The team is also accepting donations of any amount at https://www.gofundme.com/f/team-antigua-island-girlsback-on-the-row-again and Caribbean Union Bank, Acct # 20004631.
“We know that there are initiatives that require the support of corporate Antigua and Barbuda and the wider public, each catering to a specific interest and each important. We’re asking for people to come onboard with us as we undertake an adventure that catapults the country into the spotlight and raises funds for a very worthy cause,” Captain Kevinia Francis said.
“We are grateful to our sponsors to date, Ministry of Tourism, Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Budget Marine, Jumby Bay Fund, Cool & Smooth, and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism. The latter produced a promotional video and has included our information on their platforms to help us. This is invaluable, and we thank them profusely,” Francis said.
“The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority is proud to support Team Antigua Island Girls! Their energy, tenacity against the odds, sense of adventure, and prowess on the water represent the spirit of Antigua and Barbuda—a destination known for its rich, nautical heritage and water-based activities. We wish the team well on this new and exciting challenge, encourage others to get involved in supporting Team Antigua Island Girls, and most certainly will look forward to welcoming them home on the successful completion of their voyage” said Maria Blackman, Marketing Communications Manager at the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority.
The team is presently completing the mandatory courses and the practice row hours on the boat, Dadli Gyal, before the vessel ships to California in mid-April.
Francis highlighted the art competition, sponsor-a-mile and feed a rower, saying that these sponsorship packages are within the means of many.
“While there are the corporate packages, we have areas that serve to garner community support and to bring it down to the basic level where people can get involved in a way that makes them really feel like a part of our team. The design-an-oar contest gets the artwork of eight winners across the Pacific with us. With the feed-a-rower, people are powering us across the ocean by ensuring that we have food. The sponsor-a-mile gets contributors’ names on our platforms once we reach the mile they sponsored. Essentially, this is a real team effort,” Francis said.
ABOUT TEAM ANTIGUA ISLAND GIRLS
Christal Clashing, the adventurer and PhD candidate; Elvira Bell-Bailey, the health-and-wellness coach; Kevinia Francis, the personal trainer; and Samara Emmanuel, the groundbreaking sailor, make up Team Antigua Island Girls—the history-making rowing team.
The team represented Antigua and Barbuda in the 2018 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge. When they arrived home on Monday, January 28, 2019, after 47 days, they rowed into the history books, becoming, not just the first all-woman team from the Caribbean to compete in the TWAC, but also the first all-black team to row across any ocean.
ABOUT THE PACIFIC CHALLENGE
Organized by Atlantic Campaigns, the same team behind the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, the inaugural Pacific Challenge will have up to 20 teams. The crews will traverse the waters of the Pacific, the world’s deepest ocean. Teams begin in the historic harbor of Monterey and end 2,800 nautical miles later in Hanalei Bay on Kauai, Hawaii.