Yorkshire Rows hope to set sail before Christmas

The Yorkshire Rows
The Yorkshire Rows
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The Yorkshire Rows, a team of four mums crossing the Atlantic Ocean, are preparing to start their voyage a week late due to weather conditions.

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge - a race which labels itself as the world’s toughest row - was due to start on Sunday, December 15, but has been provisionally pushed back to December 22. This date is not guaranteed though, as it is dependent on improved weather, but the rowers have been asked to be prepared to leave from Friday evening.

The sun has been shining in La Gomera, an island of Spain which is the race’s starting point, but the wind there is the major problem. T

he race organisers, Atlantic Campaigns, took the decision to postpone the start due to an incoming strong, southerly winds.

The conditions meant that, if the rowers had started the race as planned, there was a “significant risk” that they would be blown too far north to complete the race.

The coming days are expected to see a similarly troublesome weather pattern, but an easterly wind has been forecast for Sunday, so that day is being targeted.

In the meantime, the crews have been taking the opportunity of an extra few days’ training, lightening their boats and making any necessary improvements.

Many competitors have been exploring the scenery with the Parador Hotel providing impressive views of the port.

The Yorkshire Rows team includes Niki Doeg, Frances Davies, Helen Butters and Janette Benaddi.

They will have 3,000 nautical miles to navigate after they begin the race from La Gomera and head for the finishing line in Antigua.

The group’s epic rowing challenge will benefit Maggie’s, which is bidding to build a similar centre for Yorkshire at Leeds St James’s Hospital, as well as the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Landmark plans for the £5million Maggie’s Yorkshire, designed by the acclaimed Heatherwick Studio, were approved by Leeds City Council earlier this year. It could open to offer walk-in cancer support in 2017.

Helen, 45, who works for the NHS in Leeds, said: “In Leeds there is a real gap. My experience was if there was a Maggie’s in Leeds my dad’s end of life experience would have been so much better.