Sydney rower Michelle Lee is setting out to conquer the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, one of the most grueling nautical challenges.
If successful in crossing the 5,000km from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean, she will become the first Australian female to row solo across any ocean.
She is also aiming to set a record and finish the race in 55 days with the race on average taking a solo competitor between 60 to 90 days.
However, less than two years ago, Lee had never held an oar.
It was after reading Roz Savage’s book about her journey across the Atlantic that she decided she needed to do that to challenge herself.
“I’m not an athlete, I’m an ordinary woman with a goal and I want people, but especially women, to know if I can do this, they can do anything,” Lee said.
The 46-year-old already has a world record to her name after becoming the fastest women to row one million metres, which she achieved in 2017.
The process to get to the start line for this row has been two years in the making and has seen Lee doing up to two gym sessions and 14 hours of rowing a day.
However, the physical preparation is just been one part of her journey with Lee preparing herself mentally by watching terrifying videos of storms at sea, hurricanes in the Atlantic, and boats capsizing.
“It sounds nuts, but I need to know what I’m up against! I’ve had all of the advice from people who have sailed the Atlantic before but for me, I need to be able to mentally visualise it,” she said.
Some people have labelled her 'crazy' for taking on a challenge like this but she doesn't think so.
“I really dislike being labelled crazy, because to me, crazy is going to attempt to do something like this with zero work," she said.
“I’ve had to tick so many boxes to even get to the start line. I’ve had to do courses, I’ve built a boat, I’ve learnt to row. I’ve put in the hours, I’ve put in the effort and I don’t just want to cross the Atlantic I want to set a record doing it,” Lee said.
Lee begins her journey on December 12.