Saturday 20 January 2018

Irish student braves sharks and storms in bid to row across Pacific

Undated handout photo issued by Oceans Project of science student Susannah Cass (25). Photo: PA
Undated handout photo issued by Oceans Project of science student Susannah Cass (25). Photo: PA
Undated handout photo issued by Oceans Project of science student Susannah Cass, 25

Michael McHugh

AN IRISH student is set to brave tropical heat, ocean storms and shark-infested seas in a bid to row across the Pacific Ocean next year.

Science student Susannah Cass (25), who is based in Dublin, will attempt a record-breaking crossing of the world's largest ocean to reach Australia by next December as part of the first female pairs team to cross the world's largest sea.

She joins neuropsychologist Sarah Weldon in the epic adventure, for which they leave California in June.

The adventurers will row in two-hour shifts, 24 hours a day.

Ms Cass is an ecologist who will carry out research and teach science live from the boat. She is in the final year of a doctoral programme at Trinity College Dublin.

She said she hopes to live up to the adventurous spirit of figures like Everest mountaineer George Mallory who died during his attempt.

"The Pacific row is undoubtedly that once-in-a-lifetime chance. I only hope we're slightly more successful," she said.

The eight-month, 8,000-mile journey was organised through Oxford-based environmental education charity Oceans Project, which was founded by Ms Weldon.

The pair will compete in the first Great Pacific Race, vying with 20 other crews to be the fastest from Monterey Bay on the US west coast to Honolulu in Hawaii.

After a fortnight of rest, repairing the 23ft-long boat and restocking supplies, they will set a course for Cairns in Australia's north-east.

Irish Independent

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