This activity relates to 2021

Rowing enthusiasts Sarah Luxton and Lucy Bufton have set themselves the ultimate challenge: they are planning to break a world record for the longest continuous Tandem Ergo-Row whilst raising vital funds for Devon Air Ambulance.

This bold World Record attempt will take place outdoors at the Seasports Watersports Centre in Teignmouth which is hosting the event. The duo will take turns to keep the fly wheel turning from Saturday 1 May until (should everything go to plan) Monday 3 May after a grueling 60 hours' rowing! 

The current World Record for Sarah and Lucy’s age category is 24 hours and the overall record is 50 hours. The pair are aiming for 60 and are striving to be well ahead of anybody that has attempted to break the record before.

Everyone at Devon Air Ambulance is extremely proud and grateful to these very experienced rowers who have a real passion for challenge! We asked Sarah and Lucy all about their interest in rowing and where their love of watersports stems from.

How old were you when you first took an interest in rowing?

Sarah: I was 11 years old. My Mum joined the local rowing club’s Seine Boat Series and I loved the thrill of watching the boats race around the point in Teignmouth and going out on the Restless following the races out to sea. I knew I needed to get in on the action so I started going to the Wednesday night ‘Novice nights’ and I was immediately hooked.

Lucy: I didn’t start until a lot later. I moved to Shaldon aged 22 and started rowing in a regatta dinghy. I took part in the Shaldon Regatta that year, including the long distance, Dawlish to Shaldon race. Although I didn’t do very well, I was also hooked! 

How did you become friends and rowing partners? 

Sarah: Lucy got roped into rowing the Volga River race (she was a non-rower at the time but had done lots of ultra marathons). They went out for a training row and I got asked to fill in. Since then we’ve kept bumping into each other until eventually we decided to get in a boat together and we’ve been Seine boating and gig rowing together ever since.

Lucy: As above! I got to know Sarah more at her rowing ‘Pirate Hen party’, a group of us visited several of the pubs on the Teign by boat, dressed as pirates!

Where does your love of rowing stem from?

Sarah: I loved the thrill of fighting it out on the water and the fact that it was a race of strength and power. I used to watch the women’s races and the winning ladies crew, I wanted to be just like them. I wanted to race and win.

Lucy: I just love being out on the water and travelling somewhere powered by your own steam.

Why are you fundraising for Devon Air Ambulance in particular?

We are being supported and hosted by SeaSports Water Sports in Teignmouth. They are massive advocates for the Devon Air Ambulance; in their words, ‘they’re still a family because of them’, so we wanted to show our appreciation for their support by ensuring that the Devon Air Ambulance remains in the sky so it can save other families.

What will it mean to break the world record and who currently owns the record you are aiming to break?

Sarah: If we were to break the world record, I’d feel pretty chuffed, I would definitely have a massive grin on my face for quite a while.

Lucy: We are also using the mileage towards Dorset Indoor Rowing’s Conquer the Cape Challenge to cover 725km, so we are aiming to be the first Devon crew to finish and that will be great!

What is your proudest rowing achievement?

Lucy: Rowing the Crazy River Race, which is an overnight row in the river Volga in Russia. It was 150 km long and took our team of 9, 18 hours to row in the Russian Yawls. It was a great experience to row in the boats and to meet the local people there.

Sarah: That’s a tricky one because so many stick in my mind. I would have to name a year as opposed to a specific race. It was 2015 when I was in a crew that reached the Scilly World Championship ‘A’ group. We came 5th in the Newquay County Championships, we won the Ladies Overall in the Great River Race in London and we were named Teignbridge Team of the year. That was a pretty epic year!

What else do you get up to when you’re not rowing?

Lucy: But we’re always rowing!? In my spare time I love Zwifting, running, triathlon training and gin tasting.

Sarah: Before Covid I would have said sleeping and working because my life was all about rowing training. Because Covid has impacted me being able to row row with my team, I’ve been able to do so many more things Zwifting, cycling, running, swimming, triathlons and obviously I’ve spent time with my ergo, old habits die hard. 

How will you get through this Record Breaking Weekend?

Lucy: Caffeine and sugar, and hopefully lots of support from friends and family.

Sarah: Grim determination, lots of music, decent entertainment and family and friends coming down to keep us going - particularly at 3am in the morning!

The world record attempt preparations will begin late on Friday night 30 April and will commence officially at 12:00am Midnight on Saturday morning 1 May 2021.

So, perhaps not at midnight, but if you are in and around Teignmouth a little later in the day on Saturday 1st, Sunday 2nd or Monday 3rd May, please head down to the SeaSports Centre and help to cheer Lucy and Sarah on in their mammoth rowing challenge!

If you would like to show your support for Sarah, Lucy and Devon Air Ambulance, please donate to their fundraising page.

Support Lucy & Sarah