Oarsome foursome set sail on 65-day cross-Atlantic rowing challenge

PUBLISHED: 17:02 12 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:36 13 December 2019

Left to right: Mo O'Brien, Bird Watts, Claire Allinson. Picture: Ben Duffy Photography

Left to right: Mo O'Brien, Bird Watts, Claire Allinson. Picture: Ben Duffy Photography

©Ben Duffy Photography

Three courageous women – including one from Exmouth – have begun a gruelling 65-day row across the Atlantic Ocean to raise money for charities close to their hearts.

Claire Allinson from Exmouth, Bird Watts from Mevagissey and her 60-year-old mother Mo O'Brien from Penzance launched their Rannoch ocean rowing boat, Liberty, from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on Thursday (December 12).

After two years of training, the amateur rowers, known as the Oarsome Foursome, are taking part in the world's toughest ocean race - the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge - and will now brave 40ft waves and circling sharks as they row more than 3,000 miles towards Antigua.

Hospiscare Exmouth and Lympstone is one of three charities set to benefit from the challenge.

Mrs Allinson, who had never rowed in her life before starting training, was inspired to raise money following the death of her dad from cancer.

His life was extended by two years thanks to Cornwall Blood Bikes, a charity dedicated to providing an out of hours service delivering essential items to NHS hospitals and hospices.

She said: "It's a special charity to me because thanks to their fast action dad was around for precious extra time and even able to walk me down the aisle at my wedding.

"We all have very personal reasons for taking up the challenge and we are just four ordinary women who want to achieve the extraordinary."

Her practice routine involved getting up at 4am, training twice a day and then rowing for 36 hours every weekend for 24 months to prepare for the challenge.

The trio are backed up by a fourth member of the Oarsome Foursome, Linda Whittaker, who will be land crew support for the trip.

Once on their way, the team could face 40-foot waves and will row in six-hour shifts - two hours with 100 per cent effort, two hours with 50 per cent and then two hours of rest. But they must also keep a constant lookout for sharks.

Visit https://www.oarsomefoursome.co.uk/ to keep up to date with the adventures of the Oarsome Foursome by visiting or following @OarsomeFour on Twitter.

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