Scot Makes History With Atlantic Rowing Crossing

A mother-of-two has rowed her way into the record books with a history-making solo crossing of the Atlantic.

Elaine Hopley, 45, from Dunblane in Scotland, arrived in Antigua on Sunday having spent nearly two months at sea competing in the 2,000 mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Her time of 59 days, 19 hours and 14 minutes makes her the fastest woman to cross the Atlantic solo in the 30-year history of the race, dubbed the world's toughest row.

Ms Hopley, an experienced endurance athlete, was raising money for Alzheimer Scotland and rowed across in a boat named after her mother, Jan.

She said: ''It was totally epic. It was unlike anything I could have ever imagined.

''There were some terrifying thunderstorms where lightning bolts were incredibly close to the boat, but I pulled on through.

''It was definitely hard being away from my family over Christmas and New Year and seeing them all here today is just fantastic.''

The outdoor instructor had previously won the inaugural Women's Scottish mountain bike cross country series and repeatedly defended her title during the 1990s.

She also completed solo rides between Land's End and John O'Groats, and throughout Australia, New Zealand and Chile.

Prior to setting off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on December 14, Ms Hopley said her mother would play an important part in inspiring her crossing.

She told the Press Association: ''I love adrenaline sports and it has always been a goal and dream to cross an ocean, that for years has remained unfulfilled, as I have needed to support my mother who was diagnosed with dementia.

''I feel the need to raise funds for this little understood disease and this crossing is dedicated to her.''

During her race, Ms Hopley battled the elements, even rowing through ''blood rain'' which included sand from the Sahara.

Her sons Guy and Harvey turned seven and nine, respectively, during her time at sea.

The overall race winners were Anglo-American quartet Latitude 35, who broke the race record to finish in just under 36 days.

:: To track the race, visit taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com

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