Rolex Fastnet Race Archives

Extreme Ocean Rower Exchanges Oars for Sails

Record holding ocean rower, Elin Haf Davies Record holding ocean rower, Elin Haf Davies is turning her hand to offshore sailing in the Rolex Fastnet Race this year.

For the seasoned sailor, this race is an opportunity to take on one of the biggest offshore classics in the world of yacht racing. For an ocean-rower without any sailing experience like Elin Haf Davies from North Wales, it will be a challenge of huge proportions.

Luckily, Elin is in good hands as under the command of RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine, she will join forces with his experienced crew in his Beneteau First 40, La Réponse. Elin is no stranger to the ocean and adventure however having rowed across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

In 2007, she rowed across the Atlantic Ocean completing 2552 miles in a 24 foot boat in an all female pair. Dubbed the 'Nautical Nurses', the journey took 77 days 7 hours and 37 minutes. The girls conquered 40ft waves, scorching heat and narrow misses with cargo ships. Elin landed in Antigua to become the first Welsh woman to ever row across the Atlantic Ocean.

14 months later, Elin joined team 'Ocean Angels' to set a world record by becoming the first all-female crew to row 3139 miles across the Indian Ocean - taking 78 days, 15 hours and 54 minutes. The girls were battered by the elements, faced heavy storms that broke vital equipment and injured one of the crew, but continued on their quest blessed with an amazing team spirit.

"My first sailing experience was racing in the Easter Challenge this year," says Elin. "RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine kindly took me under his sailing wing. Although sailing was completely new to me, life at sea wasn't having rowed across the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean. In trying to persuade Andrew of the merits of having a complete sailing novice in his crew, I hoped that my expertise in making tea in rough seas was a skill that would appeal to even the most demanding of skippers," comments Elin.

"The Rolex Fasnet Race is my first opportunity to take to the seas using sails rather than oars. I want to see how it compares. I am hoping be persuaded that sailing is an easier way to go. To have the opportunity to join the RORC Commodore and his experienced crew to compete in the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race is beyond anything that this Welsh nurse could have ever wished for."

When Elin is not out at sea, she's a PhD educated children's nurse working for the European Medicine Agency in London. Her website is