St Neots rower with incurable cancer breaks Atlantic record
A woman with incurable cancer and her two teammates have broken the world record for rowing across the Atlantic.
Kat Cordiner, 42, from St Neots, Cambridgeshire, and her two teammates arrived in Antigua on Sunday.
They completed the 3,000-mile (4,828km) crossing from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to English Harbour in 42 days, seven hours and 17 minutes.
As they stepped on land for the first time since 12 December, they said they felt “wobbly, overwhelmed and happy”.
Rowing the world’s second largest ocean is acknowledged as the ultimate endurance race.
Ms Cordiner, who has secondary ovarian cancer, Charlotte Irving, 32, from London, and Abby Johnston, 31, from Surrey, knocked seven days off the previous female trio record in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
“We had a lot of fun on the boat, you find joy in so many moments while you’re rowing and we just helped each other the best we could and took one shift at a time.”
They completed the challenge on their 25ft (7.6m) boat called Dolly Parton, rowing two hours on and two hours off continuously and unsupported.
Ms Cordiner said: “I think my body has just realised it’s been rowing for 42 days and some so I’m feeling a little broken.”
“Everyone tells you what an amazing experience it is but no-one tells you how difficult it actually is… Nothing prepares you for the first 10 days, they were very emotional for all of us and then you settle into a routine and it’s fine, we underestimated maybe how tough it would be.
“We had a lot of fun on the boat, you find joy in so many moments while you’re rowing and we just helped each other the best we could and took one shift at a time,” she added.
During their trip they experienced scorching heat, enormous night-time waves, sleep deprivation, blisters and callouses on their hands, and sharks trailing their small boat.
As they arrived, the waiting crowds were told: “If you followed their social media, these ladies made rowing the Atlantic look like one big party at Club Dolly Parton with karaoke, Hawaiian shirts, face glitter and glow sticks.”
They hope to raise £100,000 to be shared between Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
Simon Ledsham, director of fundraising for Cancer Research UK said he was “in awe” of their achievement, and grateful for the funds raised.
It is thought Ms Cordiner is the first person to tackle the challenge as a cancer patient.