World record attempt: Burnley woman set for unbelievable 3,000-mile row across the Atlantic

A former RAF squadron leader from Burnley is due to embark on a world record bid today as she sets off rowing solo across the Atlantic.
Emma Wolstenholme, from Burnley, is aiming to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.Emma Wolstenholme, from Burnley, is aiming to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
Emma Wolstenholme, from Burnley, is aiming to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

Burnley-born Emma Wolstenholme (39) is hoping to leave her training base in the Canary Islands this morning, with a gruelling 3,000 nautical miles between her and her Caribbean finish line.

She will be embarking on this phenomenal feat of endurance completely alone, in a 20ft rowing boat, with no support crew alongside her at any point.

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Burnley woman's incredible solo Atlantic row world record bid
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As well as attempting to break the current women's world record of 56 days, 13 hours and 9 minutes, the former St Hilda's RC High School pupil is hoping to raise £80,000 for the RAF Air Cadets charity.

Emma, who served across the Middle East and was the last woman aboard the last helicopter out of Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, in 2014, was recently made an honorary ambassador for the organisation, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year.

She told the Express: "There's the physical training and then there's the mental. I think the mental training has been happening my entire life. Everything from when I did the BT National Swimathon at the age of eight in the Thompson Centre – I was the youngest person in the country to do it – to serving in the RAF.

"It will be 55 days on my own, not seeing anybody else, probably not even seeing another boat. It's going to an interesting challenge. Even eating 4,500 calories a day, I still expect to lose around two stone.

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"What I will be eating is all freeze dried food, it's all been dehydrated. I have a water maker on the boat, which takes the salt out of the sea water, and cleans it. I then boil that in a jet boil and add it to the freeze dried food, which re-constitutes it and I eat that. It's a bit like space food."

There will be satellite communication on board in case of emergency, and a personal locator beacon will also be attached to Emma the whole time.

Emma is funding the whole challenge herself, so every penny raised will go to the Air Cadet Development Trust, supporting cadets and young volunteers who need it the most.

Anybody wishing to donate can do so here –