Claire: the why and the how

Claire Allinson Atlantic Challenge rower

So here it is Claire’s first ever blog post!

Hi everyone, I’m Claire and I live in Exmouth. I moved down a couple of years ago and married my schoolfriend Richard Allinson. He had moved to Exmouth some years previously and has a barber’s shop in the town.

He is friends with Bird Watts, our skipper, and when Bird asked me if I would be interested in supporting Cornwall Bloodbikes by rowing the Atlantic – I didn’t hesitate, and here’s why.

The why

A few months before that, my Dad had an internal bleed and whilst he was being operated on he needed eight pints of blood. Blood that had been transported from someone somewhere. What that meant for us as a family I can’t even begin to describe. Dad remained in intensive care for nine weeks. He was told he would never walk again. Dad being Dad walked me down the aisle the year after and we enjoyed a honeymoon of 24 people – what a celebration!

I asked Bird if I could support Exmouth & Lympstone Hospiscare as it always struck me how supportive and proud the people of Exmouth are of the Hospice – their work is simply incredible.

Some may think I’m mad (see the reasons for this below in The How). My answer to that is simple: because someone somewhere delivered blood for my Dad to Leeds ICU, Dad lived for a further 23 months before he sadly passed away of a secondary cancer in August 2018.

The nursing staff at Overgate Hospice in Halifax, were simply amazing, assisting us to care for Dad at the home he had shared with Mum for 49 years, as was his wish, until he peacefully passed away with myself, Mum and my sister Sarah at his side. Exmouth & Lympstone Hospiscare provide the same care and devotion to their patients and their families which is why I had already asked to support them.

So onwards and upwards it is for me! If anyone asks why I’m doing this, it’s to help other families that unfortunately will walk similar paths. Our wedding day was one of the most treasured family memories – the outcome could have been so very very different. #rowingfordad

So there are my reasons. Now for the how!

The how

I was an absolute non-rower when Bird asked me to join Oarsome Foursome back in September 2017. We then moved from Aylesbeare to Exmouth in June 2018 and so I joined Exmouth Rowing Club and they have been amazing taking me under their wing and passing on all of their expertise and knowledge.

We have researched the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge so much and we are still learning things everyday. It is great to speak with people who have already completed the challenge as they are the font of all knowledge.

We know that we will:

  • Row tw0 hours on and two hours off, consistently for 24 hours a day unless conditions require us to change to three hours on two hours off for events such as weather, shipping containers etc!
  • Row 1.5 million strokes between us to complete the 3,000 mile journey
  • Have an unlimited number of blisters on hands and bottoms
  • Be using a bucket as a toilet!
  • Suffer from seasickness
  • Potentially capsize
  • Suffer from hallucinations, exhaustion, dehydration and sleep deprivation

Sounds like fun, eh?


To help us get to the start of the race in December 2019 consider sponsoring us or donating money to us. We have a 250 Club if you or your organisation would like to have your name on our boat for £250.

ALL equipment including our boat will be sold after the Challenge and all monies raised from the sale will also go to our three charities.

Thank you for reading!

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