Former Ripon Grammar student breaks Atlantic rowing world record
Jan 25, 2024
Bobbie Mellor (centre) and Team Wavebreakers celebrate a world record. Credit: World's Toughest Row

A former Ripon Grammar School student has broken a rowing world record.

Bobbie Mellor, 34, was part of a three-strong female team that rowed 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in 40 days, 10 hours and 51 minutes.

The Stray Ferret reported on the World’ Toughest Row challenge when it happened and now team Wavebreakers is the fastest female trio ever to row across the Atlantic.

The previous record, set in 2022, was 42 days, seven hours and 17 minutes.

The team has raised more than £80,000 for the charity WWF’s climate crisis fund and the United Nations’ refugee agency UNHCR‘s climate change charities. Their employer, Vodafone, has offered to double donations up to the team’s target of £140,000.

Ms Mellor who began as a novice was skipper, and she and teammates Hatty Carder and Katherine Antrobus finished 10th overall against 38 crews, including professional rowers.

The race began in La Gomera in the Canaries on December 13 and finished in the Caribbean island of Antigua on January 22.

Ms Mellor said:

“It’s been wild. We had a shaky start but then some magic happened.”

The team had a rocky start, capsising early in the race and battling sea sickness, sleepless nights and waves of up to 10 feet high.

Bobbie Mellor (centre) and her teammates Hatty Carder and Katherine Antrobus

Bobbie’s mother Bridget, from Burton Leonard, said:

“The girls did us proud, showing great resilience, courage and teamwork. I found their arrival very emotional and was so relieved they made it. I always knew Bobbie would be a great skipper, she’s so positive, cheerful and calm. It’s an inspiration to other girls to know anything is possible.”

Ripon Grammar School director of sport Adam Milner said:

“’I know Bobbie, who took up rowing for the first time during lockdown, has joked that her old PE teachers would be shocked at what she’s doing now, since she was never sporty at school.

“But whether you’re naturally sporty or not, it’s all about giving your best, which is what we encourage all our students to do – and Bobbie is clearly a shining example of that.

“We’re all incredibly proud of her achievement, she has given it her all.”

“Bobbie reminds us all that it’s never too late to try something new – it doesn’t have to be as big as a world record, or even winning medals, just being part of a team or achieving your own personal best is something to celebrate.”

For more information about the fundraiser click here.

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