Oldest female crew to row the Atlantic given Yorkshire celebration

Yorkshire Rows (l-r) Janette Benaddi, Helen Butters, Niki Doeg and Frances Davies.  at Welcome to  Yorkshire after their record breaking Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.  7 March 2016.  Picture Bruce Rollinson

Yorkshire Rows (l-r) Janette Benaddi, Helen Butters, Niki Doeg and Frances Davies. at Welcome to Yorkshire after their record breaking Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. 7 March 2016. Picture Bruce Rollinson

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The oldest female crew ever to cross an ocean arrived back in Yorkshire yesterday to be hailed as “brilliant ambassadors for the county” - and labelled as “absolutely bonkers” by tourism supremo Sir Gary Verity.

The four Yorkshire Rows - Janette Benaddi, 51, Helen Butters, 45, Niki Doeg, 45, and Frances Davies, 47 - completed the 3,000-mile trans-Atlantic trip from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the West Indies in 67 days to claim their place in the record books.

A British all-female four, Yorkshire Rows, (Janette Benaddi (49), Helen Butters (43), Niki Doeg (43) and Frances Davies (45)) has crossed the finish line of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, known as the worlds toughest row. The four working Mums have overcome adversity - a broken watermaker that left them hand pumping saltwater to convert it to drinking water and power failure that affected their autopilot and GPS tracking system, forcing them to steer by hand using a compass  to prove to their families that the seemingly impossible is possible.  The team has set a Guinness World Record for the oldest all-female crew to row across any ocean and finished 22nd in the race overall. 

They crossed the finish line in 68 days, 5 hours and 2 minutes.  
Picture Ben Duffy

A British all-female four, Yorkshire Rows, (Janette Benaddi (49), Helen Butters (43), Niki Doeg (43) and Frances Davies (45)) has crossed the finish line of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, known as the worlds toughest row. The four working Mums have overcome adversity - a broken watermaker that left them hand pumping saltwater to convert it to drinking water and power failure that affected their autopilot and GPS tracking system, forcing them to steer by hand using a compass  to prove to their families that the seemingly impossible is possible. The team has set a Guinness World Record for the oldest all-female crew to row across any ocean and finished 22nd in the race overall. They crossed the finish line in 68 days, 5 hours and 2 minutes. Picture Ben Duffy

Their superhuman efforts have raised thousands of pounds for Yorkshire air ambulance and a new Maggie’s cancer centre in Leeds, as well as lifting the profile of the Broad Acres around the world.

“What these four women have just achieved says ‘Yorkshire’ in every way,” said Sir Gary, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire. “They have grit, determination and are absolutely bonkers. They are fantastic ambassadors for the county.”

Sir Gary also marvelled at the fact that the four mums had completed the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge at all after after Ms Butters, an NHS communications expert from Cawood, Selby, let slip her lack of navigational skills.

“We were having an conversation in the office upstairs and I spoke about Yorkshire’s rich maritime history going back to Captain James Cook and John Harrison, who invented the clock that solved the riddle of longitude,” explained Sir Gary. “Helen’s response was ‘So which is longitude and which is latitude?’”

The Yorkshire Rows who are to take part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in 2015.  (l-r) Frances Davies, Helen Butters, Niki Doeg, and Janette Benaddi at the St Peters School Boat House.  ( BR1002/10h) 8 February 2014.  Picture Bruce Rollinson

The Yorkshire Rows who are to take part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in 2015. (l-r) Frances Davies, Helen Butters, Niki Doeg, and Janette Benaddi at the St Peters School Boat House. ( BR1002/10h) 8 February 2014. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Fortunately for the Yorkshire Rows, Helen conceded before she first stepped into the boat that as navigating was her weakness, she was happy to take on other roles.

Skipper Janette Benaddi, a clinical researcher from Burn, Selby, said: “My biggest responsibility was making sure everyone got home safely,” said Ms Benaddi.

“It was never in doubt but even so I was absolutely relieved when we first saw land off Antigua.”

Picture and copyright by Ben Duffy +447891705762 *FREE USAGE*

Yorkshire Rows arrive in Antigua to finish the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge and become the oldest female team to have rowed an ocean
 LtoR Janette Benaddi, Frances Davies, Helen Butters, Frances Doeg
NOTE - THIS IMAGE WILL NOT INCUR A FEE TO USE

Picture and copyright by Ben Duffy +447891705762 *FREE USAGE* Yorkshire Rows arrive in Antigua to finish the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge and become the oldest female team to have rowed an ocean LtoR Janette Benaddi, Frances Davies, Helen Butters, Frances Doeg NOTE - THIS IMAGE WILL NOT INCUR A FEE TO USE