Rowers raise thousands of pounds for charity after epic transatlantic challenge

  • The rowers were guests on ITV News West Country and spoke of their amazing challenge.

Three rowers have raised thousands of pounds for charity after completing a 3,000-mile challenge across the Atlantic Ocean.

Maddie Difazio-Wright, from Bristol, and her two crew members, Grace Gilbert and Grace Pybus, have raised nearly £3,000 for Bristol's Empire Fighting Chance, Oxford Hospitals Charity and the Kidney Wales Foundation.

The women, known as the Vibe the Wave team, completed The World's Toughest Row Challenge in January after spending 48 days, 13 hours and 53 minutes at sea.

They faced numerous challenges on their journey from the Canary Islands to Antigua, including being attacked by a marlin 1,000 miles from land.

Maddie Difazio-Wright, Grace Gilbert and Grace Pybus completed the crossing after 48 days at sea. Credit: Vibe the Wave

Ms Difazio-Wright said the eight-foot-long fish took them by surprise.

"We didn't expect to see one, but we'd heard stories because it has happened to a few other boats before," she said.

"I was rowing through the water and I suddenly felt something on the oar and I shouted something to the girls."

She said the fish was "so quick and so powerful" that it made three holes in the boat, which they patched up with an empty champagne bottle and a broken oar.

"The first thing we all thought to do was to protect the parts of the boat that we could," she said.

The team managed to capture the marlin fish on their GoPro camera. Credit: Vibe the Wave

The attack was filmed on the team's GoPro camera by Ms Difazio-Wright's teammate, Grace Gilbert.

Ms Difazio-Wright explained: "Grace was thinking, I think I need this on both my phone camera and my GoPro - so in her hand goes into the water."

Before taking on the challenge, the women had never rowed before and had never met each other.

Ms Difazio-Wright said one of the biggest challenges they had to overcome was their fear of deep water.

"There are all sorts of things that end up growing on the bottom of the boat, and it can either slow you down or it can attract fish, which end up attracting bigger fish. So we had to jump under the boat to clean it," she said.