Yorkshire Rows team still hoping to set sail before Christmas

Yorkshire Rows are, left to right, Janette Benaddi, Helen Butters, Francis Davies and Niki Doeg.
Yorkshire Rows are, left to right, Janette Benaddi, Helen Butters, Francis Davies and Niki Doeg.
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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. The 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.


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