Skip to main content

Alumni break world record rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic

Alumni break world record rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic

25 January 2022

Former Newcastle students Charlotte Irving and Abby Johnston have broken the world record for rowing across the Atlantic Ocean in an endurance challenge for cancer charities.

Alongside crewmate Kat Cordiner, the pair 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, knocking seven days off the previous female trio world record.

Team ExtraOARdinary, as the trio were referred to, were one of 30 crews taking part in the Talisker Whisky Challenge, an endurance rowing race across the world’s second largest ocean that is watched by an audience of over 88 million people worldwide.

The trio were taking part in the race with the aim of raising £100,000 for cancer charities The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, Cancer Research UK and Macmillan. Explaining why this cause meant so much to the team, Newcastle graduate Charlotte said:

“Cancer patients have been adversely affected by the current pandemic, with cancer diagnoses and treatments being delayed, and charities missing out on their usual opportunities to fundraise. This is sadly close to home for so many – including our crew. Our crewmate Kat, having already beaten cancer once, is currently battling against the disease again. This time she will be managing the disease for the rest of her life, with the Atlantic challenge an opportunity for us to raise as much as we can for these wonderful charities”.

Charlotte (MA International Business, 2012) and Abby (Modern Languages (French and Spanish), 2011) first met in school where they were both keen rowers. Once at university, the pair joined the Newcastle University Boat Club (NUBC), helping to grow a successful women’s team which went on to win the 2009 University Boat Race and qualify for the Henley Royal Regatta.