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Brantford woman sets new world record for sailing across Atlantic Ocean

Local NewsBrantford woman sets new world record for sailing across Atlantic Ocean

A Brantford woman and her American partner have become the fastest women’s sailing pair to cross the Atlantic Ocean, setting a new world record.

Brantford Native Lisa Roland and Lauren (Nini) Champion crossed the finish line of the 2023 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge on Saturday, marking an end to a miraculous 45-day journey across the Atlantic Ocean.

Lisa Roland from Brantford, along with Lauren (Nini) Champion crossed the finish line of the 2023 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge on Saturday, becoming the fastest women’s sailing pair to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Photo courtesy World’s Toughest Row.

The pair surpassed the previous world record by five hours and 58 minutes, set in 2021 by the team “Wild Waves.”

The unassisted rowing race kicked off in La Gomera, Spain and saw competitors travel roughly 3,000 nautical miles to finish in English Harbour, Antigua.

Roland and Champion both work in the sailing industry and have more than 60,000 nautical miles at sea between them.

Lisa Roland from Brantford and Lauren (Nini) Champion crossed the finish line of the 2023 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge on Saturday, becoming the fastest women’s sailing pair to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Photo courtesy World’s Toughest Row.

When asked about the biggest challenge on the crossing, it was not the waves high as houses, knock downs, equipment failures or the countless hours on the oars that bothered the team.

“The first week we were kind of acclimatizing, but then the next two to three weeks we were at sea there was really light wind and when we were in those conditions, we were learning diligence of getting up for your watch. So very vividly I remember you would have your alarm go off and your mind wakes up. You feel your body come in to itself,” explained Champion. “You are aching everywhere and all of a sudden there is something deep within yourself saying I gotta get up for my watch and keep going, so there is this driving force that keeps you going. Maybe not the hardest moment but it’s definitely a moment where you overcome something”

Lisa Roland from Brantford (left) and Lauren (Nini) Champion crossed the finish line of the 2023 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge on Saturday, becoming the fastest women’s sailing pair to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Photo courtesy World’s Toughest Row.

Roland and Champion identify as Team Ocean Grown and have worked together to develop a maritime education grant called the Bridges Over Water Fund.

It’s aimed towards providing ten young adults who have aged out of the foster care system with an opportunity to find a career in the maritime industry.

Roland previously spent time in the foster care system before growing up to become the captain of a yacht and says the cause is near and dear to her heart.

Lisa Roland from Brantford (right) and Lauren (Nini) Champion crossed the finish line of the 2023 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge on Saturday, becoming the fastest women’s sailing pair to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Photo courtesy World’s Toughest Row.

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