The awe inspiring story of four working mums from Yorkshire who became the oldest women to ever row across an ocean.
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# Take it easy, better slow down girl
# Four years ago four friends took up
rowing for fun, but then hatched a plan. I used to be very sociable.
LAUGHTER We used to have people all over the
time, but not any more. Basically because I'm a rower. The plan was
for these amateurs, Helen, Jeannette, Francis and Niki, to Rome
and ocean. -- row an ocean. Why? Because I thought we needed a bit of
adventure in our lives. And then back down on strike, lovely,
following Francis. Busy working mums, the youngest 45 and the oldest
51, but two years of training took place right here, in York. This is
nothing like the ocean. Maybe it was a midlife crisis, it was a positive
take on midlife crisis. I thought, this would be amazing, not sure I
could do it, but why not, I will have a go. That is more like it.
They became the ordinary women who decided to do something
extraordinary. The odds were always against them.
Two years after they hatch their plan, Yorkshire Rows arrived here,
in the Canary Islands. This is home to the Pantic challenge, -- Atlantic
challenge. Allow 15 minutes Boukerou to register. -- per crew. This is
where you will find the extreme athletes and the survivalists stop
how hard is it going to be? Very hard. You will be -- we will be the
worlds first boat with amputees go across the ocean. Big winds, sharks,
Wales. We will be out there for a maximum of 50 days. Bring it on,
can't wait. Janette, you are the first one. This is not normally the
domain of working mums from Yorkshire who have never even done a
fun run. No second thoughts? Not at all. Hanlon, is there since you have
signed life away? -- Helen. It is becoming scary, but we will
definitely get to Antigua. And your timing? I would like to get home for
half term. When Yorkshire Rows signed for this, this is a life
changing experience, across the Atlantic Ocean, starting from here,
where Columbus started many years ago and across the Atlantic to
finish in Antigua. You say it is the world's toughest row, give me
evidence. First of all, they are alone out there, they going to with
mother nature at her best and worst. Paddy McNair 18 like them before? --
have you met a team like them before? Yorkshire Rows are a special
team, everyone can feel that when they are around them. They are just
great, special and great women. LAUGHTER
Oh! That was for the camera. LAUGHTER
I'm excited. They have come to the harbour where it all begins for some
last prep, to hit the professionals for some killer advice. Family pairs
of knickers you taking? -- how many. I'm not wearing any now. This is the
typical face of the Atlantic challenge. Yorkshire Rows, the
upstarts. We are business executives and we like to work hard and play
hard. We are four ordinarily mums. Nothing to see, move along. Their
motto. We have the ability to endure and persevere. That is why I think
it will take to win this race. It will be fine. The board outside
headquarters shows a full list, experienced Atlantic rowers at the
very top and Yorkshire Rows at the very bottom. Where is she? They are
putting their faith in the fifth member of the team. She is right at
the back. Oh my God. Her name is rows, the oceangoing rowing boat who
will take them on their journey. Add as everyone else climb on? -- how
does. This will be there at home, they will sleep and Rome in two hour
shifts, and they need not worry about how many knickers they need to
take, for Ocean rowers they will sing realise they are a hindrance.
-- they will soon realise. On December 26, 2015, the ocean called.
How excited are we? Very excited. Really excited. A few of us have not
slept last night, but we have had some rest this week and so we are
good to go. At 8:45am, Yorkshire Rows pushed off. The hope that two
years training and good Yorkshire stock would be enough to make sure
it really would be fine. Ten days in... It was anything but.
the storm later became a hurricane, and when the teams finally emerged
it had taken its toll. Niki has been reduced to a single word for most of
the night, but we don't want to say it. I have three words. Because this
is pure hell. It is. This is what my life has come to. Bailing water out.
Hurricane Alex had hit the crew and rowers. Oh my God. At four o'clock
this morning we started working, but now the screen outside is not
working. We are having to hold the rudder and steer it in the right
direction continually. We are a bit tetchy and falling out, sort of. It
is a bit annoying and frustrating. We are happy, but not happy about
the situation we are in. It is tough. It is a bit doom and gloom, a
bit scary, but hopefully better days are going to come.
In fact, the days were monotonous, broken down into repetitive moments.
Eat, sleep, row, repeat. What gets you is the monotony of the whole
thing. You have two hours sleep and then someone is waking you up to go
back on the blades and to row again for another two hours. In between
each shift is the changeover. An act experienced rowers have down to a 20
seconds fine art. This is a classic example of a late shift changeover.
They have been messing around, faffing about. Frances is ready to
leap into her spot. That is a nice view for Janette, and then we have
to put on the seat pad for Frances. Janette is doing what we call the
cat in a yoga position, it she is not falling. LAUGHTER
This is called the Sparrow walk. Cushions go down. Fleece goes down
and she is in her spot ready to row. CHEERING
And that is our changeover. Two minutes later, and with a yoga
stretch for you, as well. They reckoned it was two minutes, but it
was four minutes and a half, but then this was never about speed.
The days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into a month, half term
back in Yorkshire came and went. Now then, ladies, 40 days at sea.
Today is the 44th day. This is day 46. I had hoped initially we would
be finished and done with in 49 days. I don't think that will be the
case. So, it is day 40... We are on day something or other. Day 50. Day
50. Dave 15. Dave 53 -- day 53. Let's just get there, OK.
A glass of champagne, and sages. -- and say cheers. What are you fed up
about? That I'm still on this ocean, I don't want to be here any more.
CHEERING In Antigua the winning team arrived,
ocean reunion setting a new race record in 37 days. And then the
first pairs crossed the finish line soon after the first solo rower made
it across, but back on Yorkshire Rows, isolation was taking its toll,
especially on the captain, Janette. I'm going to complain to the tour
operator, because things could be better. They never stop talking. And
our accommodation, it is a bit small. It is not very good. I want
the world to know how mean they've been. Yesterday they put a Mars bar
in front of my face and made me smell it, that is the truth about
this journey, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The truth was
Yorkshire Rows had slowed, fighting wind and waves which were always
against them. And one other thing, barnacles. Barnacles which kills
speed. We are waiting for the support to reach us, it is half a
mile away. We can see it on the arising, directly behind us, it is
quite big... B team pledged the -- the team plucked up the courage to
leave the boat for the first time, to leave their home which they had
been on for 60 days, to scrape barnacles from the bottom.
# Somewhere beyond is the sea, somewhere waiting for me
# My lover stands on golden sands and watches the ship
# This gave the girls a new surge, they reached their highest speed, 40
knots, the end was in sight and it could not come soon enough. I had
just watched the sun come up and watching a crazy bird flying around,
trying to make its way against the wind. An emotional morning. We had
our families on, they have booked their flights to Antigua, that is
very exciting. I shed a few tears. Emotional to know that they will be
there. To be cheering us at the end, that is fantastic. Moments when we
see the sun come up and we see a solitary bird battling against the
wind like us, these are special moments. It has been such a long
journey. With all the problems we have had, it is much longer than we
wanted it to be, but we are ready to be in Antigua now. The fact that our
families are going in one week exactly to wait for us for us to
come in in the next 14-20 days, that is just sensational.
I can't tell you what is going through my head. I can't believe she
is on her way. We are heading out to meet Yorkshire Rows, they are three
nautical miles away. It is not, it is in here, what is going around
inside my stomach, I can't believe they are here. They are coming in
now. It is brilliant. Last position? She has warned me not to cry, but I
can't help it, I'm sorry. On February the 26th, just after ten
o'clock in the morning, through the waves, Yorkshire Rows finally
appeared. Welcome to Antigua! This was the moment they had officially
made the crossing. More people have climbed ever rest than have rode the
Atlantic. Well done, girls, amazing. CHEERING
How does it feel to have crossed the Atlantic Ocean? Completely amazing
and fantastic. But how hard. It has been the best time. You have done
well. The UK and especially Yorkshire are very proud. That is
fantastic we are so proud of ourselves and we have done more we
possibly thought we could. You never ask a woman's age, but you are now
officially the oldest female rowing team to have crossed the ocean.
Congratulations. Oh! Oh! They had been apart for ten weeks.
They had left their kids, husbands, their jobs and their salaries, they
had left their homes and their security. But they had returned
heroes. I'm so proud of her, even though I did not think she should do
it in the first place. Greatest moment in my life, that. Your girl.
Yes. Absolutely fantastic. Amazing. She will be dropping the kids off at
the school one week, and then rowing the Atlantic the next. Incredible.
Awesome, absolutely awesome. You lost it. Yes. Daresbury proud of all
of them, but Frances, she a supergirl, Superwoman. --
desperately proud. But we have witnessed today is four mums from
Yorkshire arriving in Antigua... During
setting a record for being the oldest female team to cross any
ocean ever. CHEERING Hip hip hurray! Hip hip hurray! Well
done, girls. Photos showed they had also returned changed. We have given
this hour everything, nearly three years, and it has taken most
weekends, almost every day for the last year, and I could relive that
last morning, it was all worth it for the sheer emotion. You don't
cross and ocean without training and commitment and preparation. If
someone like me who was not the captain of the netball team at
school can do something like this, anybody can do anything. It is a
feeling that everybody should have at some time in their life, it is
amazing. Also, it has made me realise just how important my family
and friends are and I will make a big effort to spend more time with
them. From the very start they had always said it would be fine. And it
was fine. It was. It was more than fine. It has made us, to have that
time to think and dissect every relationship, conversation, to go
back and reassess everything, I really appreciate everything,
sitting on a pillow, sitting in a bed, eating with a knife and fork,
all these people we have met, it is living in a bubble of goodwill, we
have got to make sure that stays with us for ever. And it will. This
little boat had taken them 3000 nautical miles, the adventure of a
lifetime had taken place within the confines of 26 by 5', and not every
team survives those confines even if they complete the challenge. I'm
told 80% of team-mates never speak to each other again. Not so
Yorkshire Rows. We've done it, and we had fun doing it, as well. And we
are still friends. If we can do this, anyone can do absolutely
anything. We are the oldest women to cross any ocean. That is our
Guinness world record. I'm proud of it. Yeah. These girls laughed their
way across the Atlantic, straight into the record books. And perhaps
straight onto the silver screen, a movie is in the pipeline. You cannot
see my grey hair. You look amazing. It is a great diet, I would
recommend it to everyone. We had a fantastic time, a fantastic time.
# Daschle mother know that you're out
# We have enjoyed each other's company, and it was definitely the
best free people ever to do anything with -- three people. It was
amazing. We have blasted the stereo and sung mamma Mia at the top of our
voices across the Atlantic. It was better than I ever imagined.
does your mother know that you're out
# Not enough wind for sailors today,
The awe inspiring story of four working mums from Yorkshire who became the oldest women to ever row across an ocean.