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The Coxless Crew spent nine months at sea in a 29 foot rowing boat.

Cross-Pacific rowers visit Exeter

Four women who rowed 8,000 miles, from San Francisco in the United States to Cairns, Australia, will share their remarkable story at a film screening at the University of Exeter on Wednesday 17 May.

The Coxless Crew, as they are collectively known, spent nine months – or 281 days – at sea in a 29 foot rowing boat called Doris, facing extreme mental and physical challenges.

In doing so, they raised over £65,000 for the charities Walking with the Wounded and Breast Cancer Care.

Now the crew are sharing their extraordinary story at a screening of their film ‘Losing Sight of Shore’, followed by a question and answer session at the University of Exeter's Streatham Campus on Wednesday 17 May.

The audience will be able to ask questions of the crew, Director Sarah Moshman and other adventurers at the event, which is being held jointly by Devon-based firm World Extreme Medicine, the University of Exeter Medical School and the University’s Masters course in Extreme Medicine.

Mark Hannaford, founder of World Extreme Medicine and honorary lecturer on the University of Exeter MSc Extreme Medicine course said: “This is an extraordinary and inspirational story of human spirit in the inhospitable and dangerous Pacific Ocean. There are so many lessons to be learnt from the Coxless Crew, who put their faith in themselves and each other to make history.

“I hope that students and members of the public can find as much inspiration from the Coxless Crew as I have done. They are the first team ever to cross the Pacific in a continuous three-stage row and they’ve made history.”

Laura Penhaul led the expedition, and at the time was working as the Lead Physiotherapist for Paralympic Athletics. It was her work with these athletes that inspired her to take on this mammoth challenge.

She said: “Working with people who have overcome such huge difficulties and become world-class sportspeople made me realise just how strong the human spirit can be. It motivated me to get out and take on a life-changing challenge of my own.

“It’s a great feeling to be able to premiere ‘Losing Sight of Shore’. It showcases the mental and physical challenges of taking on a long-distance ocean voyage and if it can inspire people to face their fears then that will be incredible!”

Laura will be helping to teach medical professionals what it takes to survive on oceanic voyages on an upcoming Oceanic Medicine course, run by World Extreme Medicine, taking place in Plymouth from 23 to 26 May 2017 and a video of a recent TEDx talk by Laura can be watched here.

The screening event at the University of Exeter will take place on Wednesday 17 May at 7:15pm, with doors opening at 6:30pm.

Tickets are available to purchase on the Eventbrite website.

For more information on the Coxless Crew, visit their website and Twitter.

Date: 5 May 2017