She's done it: Bobbie breaks world record

RGS past pupil Bobbie Mellor has broken a world record with her rowing team, travelling 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in 40 days, 10 hours and 51 minutes.

Known as the Wavebreakers, the fastest female trio to row across the Atlantic have also raised more than £80,000 for climate change charities.

Novices Bobbie, who was skipper, Hatty Carder and Katherine Antrobus came in 10th overall, up against many professional rowers in the World’s Toughest Row.

An elated Bobbie, 34, who confesses she was never sporty at school, said: “It’s been wild. We had a shaky start but then some magic happened.”

Her mother Bridget, speaking from her home in 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."

Looking forward to welcoming Bobbie home for a celebration party in February, she added: "It's an inspiration to other girls to know anything is possible."

RGS director of sport Adam Milner says Bobbie's story is inspiring students throughout the school: '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."

The Wavebreakers set off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands, Spain, on December 13 and finished in the Caribbean island of Antigua on January 22.

Despite capsizing early on, and enduring tumultuous weather with waves of up to ten feet high, they beat the world record for fastest female trio set in 2021 by almost two days.

"In the first week we dropped right to the back of the fleet”, said Bobbie, 34, who is global head of sustainability for Vodafone and has recently bought a home in Nidderdale.

“Once we got through that it was a good thing that all the bad things happened at the beginning as we built lots of resilience, it was almost training for the rest of the journey.

“We worked our way up through the fleet and somehow made a world record. It’s quite a simple formula – keep rowing whatever happens. It’s just like life.”

Bobbie, suffering from a few aches and pains, said: “It’s the physicality of it, it's just relentless. There’s no escape from the elements. It was really, really hot. If you are in discomfort, there’s very few things you can do to relieve it. There’s no shade and you’re rowing in almost 40 degrees, no way to cool down."

Her teammates were amazing, she said: “We spent a lot of time before the race, getting to know each other, understanding, it’s really important to understand what different people need at different moments. We’re really close as a team and know how to support each other and were kind and forgiving – it pushes you to your limits.”

The trio has raised £84,000 for the WWF and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees climate change charities, with their employers, telecommunications company Vodafone, offering to double donations up to the team’s target of £140,000.

Bobbie is looking forward to helping others make their own challenges come true, having experienced huge support from friends and family. She said: "It’s just unbelievable, we are just three very normal women. I really feel it just shows anyone can do anything.”

Documenting their World’s Toughest Row challenge, the Wavebreakers’ social media team described the women as ‘battered and bruised’.

In addition to stormy weather, their social media posts documented bouts of seasickness and sleepless nights as they aimed to become the fastest female trio to row across the Atlantic ocean.

On Instagram, the WaveBreakers team posted: “They overcame each and every obstacle thrown at them… and broke the world record in the process!”

The world record for the distance is held by trio Kat Cordiner, Abby Johnston and Charlotte Irving who completed the 3,000-mile journey in 42 days, seven hours and 17 minutes in January 2022.

For more information about the fundraiser visit:

Read more about the challenge in our earlier story here

PHOTOS: World's Toughest Row - Bobbie pictured centre