Our sponsorship of Jasmine Harrison: an interview

3 min read published on 22 March 2021
Jasmine Harrison

“When I saw dolphins, I was so desperate to swim with them- the organization thought I had fallen overboard when I jumped in, haha. One night I was even surrounded by dolphins diving out of the water. The next day they came to me, I could swim right next to them. It was mesmerizing; they know you are there and are eager to have contact with you.”

Jasmine Harrison took the Atlantic Challenge this winter, she was the youngest solo female to row the Atlantic. Because Vencomatic was one of the main sponsors, we had the opportunity to interview Jasmine together with our sponsorship partners from Vencomatic Group UK. Before our meeting, she had just spoken to future queen Kate Middleton, so we were a bit starstruck when she came on to Zoom. Lucky for us, she was just a very grounded girl from Thirsk. With big ambitions.”

What spurred and inspired you to row the Atlantic on your own?

“While I was sailing in the Caribbean in 2017, a woman told me about a yearly race across the Atlantic. I knew nothing about rowing boats at that time, I didn’t even know they go backwards. I thought about it for a year and then I decided to do it. In September 2019 I did my courses on navigation and in December I went to see the starting line. I remember I thought ‘this is really happening now, this time next year I will be rowing across the ocean’.”

“Now that I am back, my boat will go on display in a shop in Thirsk, the village I live in. I was born there, so I tried to find local sponsors in the area. Finding sponsors is not easy, but it helped that I worked in a pub because you meet a lot of people there. In January 2020, I started talking with Vencomatic Group about sponsorship and that’s where I came into contact with Lizzie of Vencomatic UK (no, not in the pub, haha). We put together a media pack to take to other potential organisations. ”

Where did your brand name ‘Rudderly Mad’ come from?

“I invented the name ‘Rudderly Mad’ similar to many teams that create their names using boat related words like ‘oar’ or ‘row’ or ‘rudder’- but I wanted to give it a twist. The rudder is an important part of the boat, and people were constantly telling me ‘you must be mad’. And yes, I often do wild things, haha. But it is also a unique name when you search on Google, there can be no confusion.”

“I told my mum about my idea when I watched the race three years ago, she was really surprised and I guess she hoped I had forgotten about it. But the next time we talked about it, I had already listed myself, haha.”

Did you find land during your trip?

“I did not discover land, but I came across a lot of seaweed. I even got stuck in it when I was sleeping! I saw my speed dropping to zero so I took out a flash light and saw that I was trapped in the web of weeds. I didn’t panic, I just went to sleep again.”

“I was very calm on the Atlantic- as long as I didn’t hit anything and continued in the right direction, there were no problems. In hindsight, 70 days seems like a lot of time, but it wasn’t at that moment. You have to wake up at night every two hours to check the direction. But I couldn’t go wrong, there were little fish that were helping me going in the right direction. They became my friends.”

Were you really on your own?

“Most of the time. There were two support yachts in the race that moved through the fleet and took pictures of everyone. But you really have to do it on your own, you have to take all the food with you and they even check your boat for this. But I didn’t eat that much because I didn’t like the food, haha. Although, I ate most of the chocolate in the first month. I had a water maker that I turned on every three days, but I also had to take 50 litres of emergency water. It was regulation, they even checked at the finish to ensure that I didn’t throw it off the boat.”

“I don’t see myself as very important, but I would like to inspire young girls to pursue their dreams. If there is something that you really want to do, remain rooted with your reasons and remember why you are doing it. Keep focused. This has got to be more than a dream.”

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Published by

Edwin Vlems
Edwin Vlems is Marketing Manager at Vencomatic Group

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