Sunday 4 December 2016

Mum's the word for oldest all-female crew to row the Atlantic as four mothers set new Guinness world record

Published 25/02/2016 | 15:27

Janette Benaddi, (51), Frances Davies, (47), Niki Doeg, (46) and Helen Butters, (45) ave set a new Guinness world record as the oldest all-female crew to row across an ocean. Photo: Janette Benaddi Facebook.
Janette Benaddi, (51), Frances Davies, (47), Niki Doeg, (46) and Helen Butters, (45) ave set a new Guinness world record as the oldest all-female crew to row across an ocean. Photo: Janette Benaddi Facebook.

Four mothers have set a new Guinness world record as the oldest all-female crew to row across an ocean.

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Janette Benaddi, (51), Frances Davies, (47), Niki Doeg, who celebrated her 46th birthday on the water, and Helen Butters, (45), took just over two months to complete the 3,000-mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

They arrived in English Harbour, Antigua, on Thursday, 68 days after leaving La Gomera in the Canary Islands on December 20.

The crew, who became friends after meeting on the school run, encountered a hurricane, power failures, attacks from flying fish, seasickness and injuries to complete the endurance challenge, dubbed the world's toughest rowing race.

They also made headlines when they revealed they had to row naked after running out of clean clothes.

They were greeted as they set foot on land in the Caribbean harbour by huge crowds including members of their families.

In the team's latest blog post last week, Mrs Benaddi, from Burn in North Yorkshire, said an equipment failure had left them steering by hand and one rower down at all times.

She said: "I think these may be our longest days, we are so eager to get to land now and it still seems far away."

The friends formed the plan to take part in the race around three years ago at a boat club dinner.

Speaking before they left to start the race, Mrs Butters, from Cawood, North Yorkshire, said: "We've always had the same aim. It's more important to us to enjoy it and get to the other side than to fall out and be competitive and want to beat other people."

And their blog confirmed that the team had achieved their aim, with Mrs Benaddi paying tribute to the "three amazing women" she is sharing the 8m by 1.5m boat with.

Mrs Benaddi described Mrs Butters as "reliable, strong, determined and a very positive influence", Ms Doeg as "very special, kind, generous, caring and very, very safety conscious" and said Ms Davies "is understanding, empathetic and has a wonderful laugh".

She wrote: "So these are my crew, the best crew in the world that has moved us thousands of miles across this big blue ocean and the crew that makes this adventure special in my heart and soul."

The women all had to fit in their training alongside working full time and stocked up their freezers with family meals before setting off.

Press Association

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