I remember a day, after we’d been at sea for about 3 weeks, when Lin and I discussed how long you had to be out there rowing in order to officially call yourself an ocean rower. We decided that 3 weeks should do the trick! I spent the whole of my next rowing shift trying out the name... ‘Rachel Smith, ocean rower’.

But seriously, I thought that the feeling of winning a World Championship couldn’t be beaten - and I was wrong. Rowing the ocean was both the best and the worst thing I’ve ever done, and without question the toughest. The ocean is merciless and tests you way beyond your limits. You never conquer it - it merely lets you pass. Sometimes.

I never really excelled at school, and definitely not at sport. Being just 5 feet 1 inch tall and of a curvy nature, I really wasn’t ideally built for most sports and only discovered an aptitude for paddling in my late teens. Kayaking led to dragon boat racing and eventually a regular place on the Great Britain Team. I am now a BDA Level 4 coach and have a keen interest in a performer centred approach to sport and life in general.

The idea of rowing an Ocean first came from Debra Searle (formerly Debra Veal), a paddling team mate in the late 1990’s. I followed avidly as Debra set off with her then husband to row the Atlantic. Sadly he had to be taken off the boat just a few days in, while she bravely carried on alone, arriving triumphantly in Barbados 111 days later.

I kept in touch with Debra and whenever we spoke or met up, she always suggested that I might like to consider the row. She thought I was the right kind of person, and that I might enjoy the challenge.

Eventually, a few things happened in a short space of time and I suddenly realised that rowing the Atlantic could actually become a reality.

Together with my best friend Lin, we launched our campaign in November 2004 and after 4 years of hard work, we finally rowed into English Harbour, Antigua on 16th February 2008 after 76 days at sea. We won the women’s pairs class and have been awarded a Guinness World Record for being the fastest British women’s pair to row this route land to land.

We raised over £65,000 for Breast Cancer Care and covered all of our project costs in one of the most successful ocean rowing campaigns on record.

Since then, life has changed and this web site aims to tell you more about what I do and how I might be able to help you. I hope you enjoy your visit!

  1. Bullet Torch Bearer for the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.

  2. Bullet ‘Antigua or Bust’ - the story about the Atlantic Row now on sale.

  3. Bullet  Qualified as a First Aid Instructor in January 2012.

My photo albums

Dragon Boat

10 year career


New skills!

My favorite links


Rachel Smith - Ocean Rower!