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B.C. woman wins World’s Toughest Row after 38 days crossing the Atlantic

Noelle Helder and team Salty Science crossed the finish line 1st in 3,000-mile race to Antigua
Penticton’s Noelle Helder and team Salty Science won the women’s class of the World’s Toughest Row 2023. (Submitted photo)

A Penticton woman can now claim the title of winner of the World’s Toughest Row.

On Saturday Jan. 20, at 23:31 local time, Chantale Bégin (Palm Harbour, Florida, USA), Lauren Shea (Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA), Noelle Helder (Penticton, BC, Canada) and Isabelle Cõté (Belcarra, Canada) crossed the finish line in English Harbour, Antigua after 38 days, covering 3,000 miles of Atlantic ocean, claiming victory of the women’s class of the World’s Toughest Row 2023.

Family, friends and loved ones from all parts of the US and Canada gathered together at Nelson’s Dockyard, elated to see their heroines after such a long yet successful campaign.

When asked about the feeling when rowing into the harbour Helder said, “overwhelming, exciting and ready for the trophy.”

Team Salty Science have known each other for some time, three generations of education and knowledge.

“Everyone was focused on the race. We set out and winning was not the goal initially. we sat out to come across safely, have a good time doing it and number three was to row as fast as we could and I think we really held through to that, so I’m really happy about that,” said Bégin.

Team Salty Science was neck and neck with the UK team There She Rows throughout making for an exciting race.

The victory was not easy to say the least, said Team Salty Science. They faced many tough obstacles along the way including tedious water-maker repairs. Thanks to their grit and determination, this unit of skillful women were able to preserve triumphantly, said a press release.

Team Salty Science have been raising money and awareness for the charities Bamfield Marine Science Centre, Green Wave and Shellback Expeditions.

The World’s Toughest Row – Atlantic is an annual ocean rowing race that spans approximately 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. Starting in La Gomera, the Canary Islands it finishes in Antigua, Caribbean.

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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