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Emma Mitchell

Emma Mitchell

257 days at sea in a 29ft pink ocean rowing boat called Doris, crossing the Pacific Ocean

In January 2016, Emma made history as part of the Coxless Crew after an incredible nine-month journey across the Pacific Ocean. When the team finally reached Cairn, Australia, they had spent 257 days at sea in their pink 29ft boat, Doris.

The six-strong crew completed the 8,600 nautical mile journey to achieve two world records: the first all-female crew and the first fours boat to row the Pacific Ocean from America to Australia. The journey was a feat of physical and mental endurance that continues to amaze and inspire. Each crew member rowed for 12 hours each day in two hour shifts, sleeping for just 90 minutes at a time.

Emma started rowing at the age of 15 and competed for England as well as competing in and winning the boat race with the Cambridge University Women's Boat Club. She completed a PhD in Neuropsychopharmacology at Bristol University before swapping academia for 4 month expedition training in the jungles of Belize culminating with spending 3 days alone in the jungle with just a machete.

Emma shares her extraordinary experience and sheds light on the leadership skills, fortitude, resilience and unbreakable team spirit that saw her through the journey both to the start line in San Francisco and across the largest ocean the the world.

Testimonials from Teachers

"Emma was such a breath of fresh air! A young lady whom the girls could so readily aspire to emulate - rather than the more elevated and seemingly remote captains of industry who, at times, come dangerously near to being 'preachy'. Her honest account of her amazing feat, together with the attendant highs AND lows, was so compelling and nothing has ever held the attention (particularly of the younger members of school) so well as simple story-telling. And yet she so clearly extrapolated the three essentials for success which the girls could take away with them and apply to their own lives. What a role model!!! Don't know who we can possibly find to follow her next year!"

– Mrs Jean Ross, Headmistress, St Mary's School

"In September the senior school had an inspirational assembly from Emma, part of the team of four women who rowed across the Pacific, from America to Australia. The seniors were spellbound by her tales of flying fish and thunderstorms, sharks and food rations and the resilience of four young women. ‘Everyone has their own Pacific to cross,’ Emma said. ‘And remember, the performance of a team is greater than the individual."

– Mrs Lucinda Webb, Director of Communications, Portsmouth High School

"Emma attended our Year 6 Leavers celebration to talk to the girls about her journey as part of The Coxless Crew. The vision of The Coxless Crew challenge of inspiring others to reach for their own potential and to meet the challenges that life throws at them, however big or small, is something that we try to teach the girls here at Highfield. For them to hear first-hand the challenges Emma and the team faced was superb, it really did prove that anything is possible if you work hard enough to achieve it. Emma’s passion and enthusiasm bubbled over and left the girls, their parents and staff at the school speechless. We would highly recommend her to talk at any event as what she achieved is awe-inspiring."

– Lisa Hunter, Marketing Manager, Highfield Prep School

"It went really well. Emma was brilliant! I have had so many compliments about her speech."

– Mrs Allison Maylor, PA to the Headteacher, Swakeleys School for Girls​

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