Yorkshire Rows praised for ‘tenacity’ after solid start

Yorkshire rowers Janette Benaddi, Niki Doeg, Francis Davies and Helen Butters are rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. (Picture by Tony Johnson)

Yorkshire rowers Janette Benaddi, Niki Doeg, Francis Davies and Helen Butters are rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. (Picture by Tony Johnson)

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There have been bumps and bruises, but the Yorkshire Rows team are being praised for their tenacity after battling through the Christmas and New Year period of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

The race labels itself as the world’s toughest row and there have already been people feeling the effects - but not the team of Yorkshire women. Asked to comment on their progress, Carsten Heron Olsen, the CEO of Atlantic Campaigns who organise the race, said that he was “extremely impressed” by their efforts.

The team - Janette Benaddi, Frances Davies, Niki Doeg and Helen Butters - are set to face dificult wind conditions over the coming days, but they have already shown resilience, since the start of the race on December 20.

They have endured 30-foot waves, sleep deprivation and difficult heat at times, while crossing the Atlantic Ocean, but they are in a solid mid-table position, currently in 15th place out of 26 teams.

Carsten Heron Olsen said: “Yorkshire Rows are making a fast crossing across the Atlantic Ocean, with a northeasterly wind pushing their boat south west, which is helping them along. I’m extremely impressed with their tenacity and commitment to this intense challenge.

“The team have had their fair share of hardships, with the winds creating huge waves, bruises from misplaces oars in the dark, sores and sleep deprivation and yet they are pushing on with no complaints. We are predicting the winds may change in the next few days, which might make it a little harder for the teams, but they’re all incredibly prepared and I’m looking forward to welcoming them all in Antigua.”

The team have had to row over Christmas and New Year, away from their friends, families and home comforts. They had a lunch of tinned pilchards - and tinned pineapple for dessert - on Christmas Day, and opened special letters from loved ones. The team sent a video message on Christmas Day to family, friends and supporters. Over Christmas, they also sent a picture of themselves wearing reindeer’s antlers.

On New Year’s Eve, the four women celebrated the fact they had almost rowed 1,000 miles since the start. The team are expected to reach the half-way mark soon, by which point they would have rowed 1,500 nautical miles.