A trio of British women have broken the Atlantic rowing record, with one suffering from incurable cancer.

Kat Cordiner arrived in Antigua with Abby Johnston (a colleague) and Charlotte Irving (a friend).

In 42 days, seven hours, and 17 minutes the women crossed the 3,500-mile distance from La Gomera (Canary Islands) to English Harbour. That’s seven more days than the male trio who completed it in just seven hours.

Families and friends who were able to join them on the dockside gave them an emotional welcome. When they first stepped on land since December 12, the couple said that they felt “wobbly overwhelmed, happy” and “wobbly”.

Three British women (pictured), one of whom has incurable cancer, have shattered the world record for rowing across the Atlantic

Pictured: Three British women, one with incurable cancer and the other having rowed across the Atlantic to break the record.

Kat Cordiner (pictured), who has secondary ovarian cancer, and teammates Abby Johnston and Charlotte Irving, arrived in Antigua on Sunday evening

Kat Cordiner (pictured), who suffers from secondary ovarian and other cancers, along with Abby Johnston, Charlotte Irving and Charlotte Irving arrived in Antigua last Sunday night.

It is the most difficult endurance race in the world, rowing at the 2nd largest ocean. 

There are more people who have climbed Mount Everest than those who have successfully rowed the Atlantic, and less than 20% of all ocean rowers in women.

This is believed to be Ms. Cordiner’s first attempt at tackling this issue as a patient with cancer.

The women raise money for Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The race organizers claimed they’d shown what was possible.

Ms Cordiner, 42, Ms Irving, 31, and Ms Johnston, 32, were on a 25ft boat – called Dolly Parton – rowing two hours on and two hours off continuously and unsupported.

Camilla Duchess de Cornwall sent them a handwritten message of good fortune as they headed off.

The women (pictured) completed the 3,000-mile crossing from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to English Harbour in 42 days, seven hours and 17 minutes, knocking an astonishing seven days off the female trio record in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge

Pictured: The crossing of 3,000 miles from La Gomera (Canary Islands) to English Harbour took 42 days, 7 hours and 17 mins. They also beat the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge record by seven days.

They endured scorching heat and night-time waves that were unbearable, as well as blisters, calluses, extreme sleep deprivation and very hungry sharks following their boat.

They persevered with determination and made their own entertainment.

They arrived and told the crowds waiting: “If you follow their social media, these women made rowing across the Atlantic seem like one big party at Club Dolly Parton with Karaoke, Hawaiian shirt, face glitter, and glow sticks.”

They also celebrated Kat’s 42nd Birthday, New Year, Christmas and Kat’s 42nd Birthday, opening a bottle prosecco.

Money is still pouring in but the women hope to raise £100,000 to be shared between the three cancer charities.

The three women (pictured) given an emotional dockside welcome by family and friends who had flown out to celebrate with them

Family and friends flew in to give the three women (pictured) an emotional dockside warm welcome

Simon Ledsham was Director of Fundraising for Cancer Research UK. These are extraordinary supporters. Not least Kat who inspires thousands facing cancer.


Ovarian cancer refers to cancer of the eggs and ovaries. The womb has two ovaries. The cancer of the ovaries may spread to the bladder and bowel nearby.

It is the eighth most common cancer among women, and is most common in women who have had the menopause but it can affect women of any age. 

The advanced stage of ovarian carcinoma is where 66% of cases of it are found.

The survival rate for ovarian cancers at diagnosis will be lower than the 90 percent in the earlier stages.

It’s diagnosed so late because its location in the pelvis means the symptoms can be vague and difficult to recognise, particularly early on.

These symptoms are often similar to those of more serious conditions like pre-menstrual syndrome or irritable stool syndrome (IBS).

These are the most frequent symptoms of ovarian carcinoma.

  • Feeling continually bloated 
  • A swollen tummy
  • You feel discomfort in your stomach or pelvic region 
  • Hunger pangs or a sudden feeling of fullness after eating. 
  • You feel the need to pee faster than usual or more frequently


For the past three weeks, you’ve felt bloated almost every day 

You have other symptoms of ovarian cancer that won’t go away – especially if you’re over 50 or have a family history of ovarian or breast cancer, as you may be at a higher risk.

“We send our sincere congratulations to the team for their incredible record. Also, we want to show our gratitude for helping to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

“We wish they would spend their first night on dry land in a comfy bed. We know they’ve achieved their dream and are world-leaders in the field.

“But, they should celebrate their wedding in style for now. As Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall said when they set off – it was an OARsome undertaking – and they are awesome women!’

In March 2019, Ms. Cordiner was found to have cervical cancer. This was completely accidental as she had been having her eggs taken in hopes of carrying a child in the future.

She described her feelings as “distraught”, although she stated that she was more worried about losing her child to cancer than the fact she could not have one.

Kat had a radical hysterectomy, but her doctors removed her ovaries because she wanted to freeze more eggs. She had her ovaries taken out after her eggs were collected.

Everything went well after surgery. She began to feel stomach cramps in June 2020 and was immediately aware that she had cancer.

Ms. Cordiner feared that the return to treatment might affect crew members’ chances of participating in the Atlantic Row.

But there was a further blow – despite training through chemotherapy, doctors found a growth on her heart and told her to stop exercising immediately.

First, her medical team dealt with the cancer and then she had the heart surgery to remove the tumor.

Her treatment consisted of six sessions each of radiotherapy, along with paclitaxel, carboplatin and avastin. 

Cancer Research UK played a key role in developing paclitaxel. It also contributed to the research that underpinned carboplatin’s and avastin’s development.

After enduring intense cancer treatment and heart surgery for six months, she was finally able to get back on the water.

Ms. Cordiner stated that it initially floored her and made me angry because I could not exercise. But when I got back in the boat, I was quite strong – I knew I could do it!’

Now, the 42-year old is in remission. She only takes drugs to treat her symptoms of early menopause.

“The doctors told me that I do not have decades. I only have years. I want to get the best out of my years.” I don’t want to muck around doing stuff that doesn’t matter – I want to do things that are challenging and fun.

“I’m not sure how long it will take me to be in remission. People often think of cancer/chemo/death. But today the drugs are so much better – you can live your life with cancer. Many people live years after receiving treatment.

You can donate to Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support, or the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity by visiting the We Are ExtraOARdinary page.