A WOMAN who describes herself as "rudderly mad" has set off on a journey to tackle the world’s toughest rowing race on her own in a bid to become the youngest solo female ever to complete the challenge.

Jasmine Harrison, 21, from Thirsk, will spend Christmas and the first few months of 2021 rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean.

In the past year she has raised £80,000 to fund her place in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, as well as buying the special boat she needs to get across the ocean and the kit and food to help her fulfil what has become her burning ambition.

She said goodbye to Thirsk and her beloved dog and family this week to fly to La Gomera in the Canaries to get ready for the race start on December 12.

Her boat Argos has already been shipped out and she says she can’t wait to be reunited with it because it’s become so important to her.

“We’re a team, I will be relying on it to get me 3,000 miles across the ocean and I have no plans to be separated from it. While there are support boats, if you have to give up you stay on them till the last people come in, so the quickest way to get to land is to row.

“I must admit it is suddenly daunting, I’ve been so busy making and raising money and training and now it’s here and I won’t be sleeping in a bed for months, I would love to do it in 60 days, but that would be a miracle, 70 days would also be good.”

Jasmine will have a satellite phone so will be able to send back updates to her mum Susan and supporters back in Thirsk. There are 21 teams taking part in the gruelling challenge but she is the only lone female.

She has been getting lots of practice. As part of the build up competitors have to do 120 hours at sea, so Jasmine spent hours in her boat in the North Sea off Hartlepool including rowing through the night.

“I found it really exhilarating, being on my own just doesn’t bother me – how it’s going to go across the Atlantic Ocean we shall see. I just want to get across for myself and for my sponsors and everyone who has backed me because I really appreciate it,” added Jasmine.

A lifelong swimmer, she has worked at Thirsk pool, the Little 3 pub and sponsors Langver Engineering to help pay for the trip. She is raising money for Shelterbox and the Blue Marine Foundation to inspire young people.