Page last updated at 08:05 GMT, Tuesday, 7 July 2009 09:05 UK

Women rowing team makes history

The Ocean Angels' team
The four women completed the tough challenge in 79 days

Four British women have become the first all-female crew to row across the Indian Ocean, spending 79 days at sea.

The group, which calls itself the Ocean Angels, reached the finishing line in Port Louis, Mauritius, early Tuesday.

They finished the Woodvale Indian Ocean Race, after leaving Western Australia on the 3,720 mile journey in April.

The four are Fiona Waller, 34, of London, Elin Davies, 32, of Bala, Gwynedd, Jo Jackson, 28, of Sussex, and Sarah Duff, 25, of Oxfordshire.

The Ocean Angels aim to raise £50,000 for Breast Cancer Care in completing the feat, and skipper Fiona Waller, has herself fought cancer.

The race was won by a male British team on 26 June.

To say it's been tough is an understatement but what an adventure
Ocean Angels's skipper Fiona Waller

All of the women, apart from Ms Jackson, have previously completed the Woodvale Atlantic Rowing Race and have been training since July 2008 for the event.

Dubbed the toughest rowing race in the world, the Indian Ocean Race has proved a challenge for all four women.

Of the 10 boats that began the race, only five made it past halfway and before this year's race only two men had ever completed it.

During the 79 days onboard their 29ft (8.8m) rowing boat, Pura Vida, the women rowed in pairs for two hours on, two hours off, meaning they have had no more than two hours sleep at a time.

They have also had to contend with rough seas with frequent swells of over 50ft (15.24m), hurricane force winds and intense heat, along with dangerous marine life including sharks.

Ms Waller said: "I can't believe we've finally made it - the first all female crew to row across the Indian Ocean

The overjoyed team arriving in Mauritius on Tuesday morning
The overjoyed team arriving in Mauritius on Tuesday morning

"To say it's been tough is an understatement but what an adventure. We have seen the best and the worst of the Indian Ocean.

"I'm really proud of what we've achieved both in terms of our world record and also the money we have raised for Breast Cancer Care."

She added: "I saw my mother, Elisabeth, go through and eventually die from breast cancer in 2000.

"I was also diagnosed with cancer just after my 30th birthday so I have seen the impact this disease can have.

"We'd like to thank all our supporters and sponsors for helping us all the way to the end".

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Rowers make history with race win
27 Jun 09 |  England

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