Two Christmas’s past, Bird Watts bought her Mum, Mo O’Brien, a book “Four Mums in a Boat”. It was about four women who decided to row the Atlantic Ocean. Bird had already warned Mo when she gave her the gift they weren’t going to row it themselves, but hoped it would give her Mum the inspiration for their next challenge. Mo has never been one to sit around, in fact she doesn’t,preferring to climb mountains, bike across Kenya and run island marathons, to name a few.
Mo was instantly hooked on the book and voila that is how Oarsome Foursome began! Mo needed to find crew members and first asked her daughters Bird and Naomi. Bird said yes but unfortunately due to pregnancy Naomi had to decline. Bird and Mo discussed others and Linda Whittaker was soon recruited from Bird’s Gig Club. The last member was Claire Allinson who was a non-rower at the time.
So then began the campaign. All four women work full time, which includes stints away from home. This is the tricky part and the ladies often laugh that when they raise the cash to get to the start line the rowing will be the easy part!
The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge costs about £90,000 – £100,000 and £45,000 has been raised to date. The girls are relentless in fund raising. However, they’ve had so many doors closed which were first looking promising it can be a challenge, but they have agreed they will never give up and are steely determined!
They will be rowing 3,000 miles from La Gomera in the Canary Islands, to English Harbour in Antigua. Their boat “Liberty” is a Rannoch R45 Ocean rowing boat and they are in love with her! She is 28 feet long and 6 feet wide. With two small cabins either end, these will provide solace for the gruelling 2 hours on, 2 hours off, in pairs, rowing rotation 24 hours a day until they reach the finish line (hopefully in 45 days or less). It will be very hot in the cabins as the hatch doors must remain closed at all times for safety – just in case she capsizes – she will self-right provided the hatches are closed.
The ladies know that the blisters and salt sores are a given – you couldn’t expect anything else rowing an ocean! They know that at some point they will all suffer from seasickness, with extreme emotional highs and lows.
Food is carefully calculated for each rower (60 calories per 1kg of bodyweight) as they will burn in excess of 5,000 calories per day. Add exhaustion, fatigue, emotions and possible injury into the mix, they know this is their biggest life challenge to date. What spurs them on? That every penny they raise is helping unpaid carers, patients and their loved ones by providing much needed funds to the amazing charities they are supporting. You can donate here:
Their chosen local charities are Cornwall Blood Bikes, Carefree and Exmouth & Lympstone Hospiscare, whose staff and volunteers all work tirelessly and passionately for their causes. They all mean something personal to each rower and are impactful locally.
All funds will be divided equally after the race (with a donor matching funding up to £50k and with gift aid, we expect to raise over £112.5k).
Oh and did we mention that the amazing Mo is also deaf? She just wants to prove to people that ordinary people can achieve the extraordinary. When Liberty crosses the finish line, 4 Guinness World Records will have been achieved!
For more information please visit www.oarsomefoursome.co.uk. Sponsorship is still available for corporates (from £250 upwards) and as individuals from as little as £1 per mile for any chosen mile between 1-3,000 to help. If you’d prefer to talk to us, please call Linda on 07970 949785 (she lives locally on the Roseland).
The race attracts a PR 121m audience impressions & 52.6m people (2018/19 race figures).
More to follow as the race nears the start.
Roseland Online has kindly supported them by becoming a 250 Club Member.
(Roseland Online will be following the Oarsome Foursome on their trip across the Atlantic once they get underway and share their trials and tribulations of preparing right here each month beforehand. I hope you’ll find a way to financially support them – Ed.)