From records management to record breaking

Claire Allinson, sponsored by her employer Crown Records Management, has completed the world’s most challenging ocean rowing race – breaking a world record, raising £5,000 for charity and coming face to face with an orca along the way!

After more than seven weeks at sea, novice rower Claire and her teammates, Bird Watts and Mo O’Brien, celebrated becoming the fastest ever three-woman team to cross the Atlantic in a rowing boat today.

The trio rowed more than 3,000 miles from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean taking on the world’s toughest row, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

On 12 December, they slipped their mooring ropes and rowed out of the San Sebastian harbour. 49 days, 13 hours and 49 minutes later, the women tasted sweet victory as their trusty ocean rowing boat, Liberty, finally crossed the finish line on 31 January, 2020 at 1:59 a.m. GMT.

The women, hailing from coastal Devon and Cornwall, thereby shattered the existing women's trio Atlantic Crossing record, which had previously been set at 60 days.

“We were so excited to cross the finish line in Antigua and a bit stunned when learning we had broken the record for fastest crossing!” Claire said. “I am so proud to be a part of this team and can’t believe we’ve raised over £5,000 for charity.

“It’s been a life changing journey. We’ve overcome some major lows, from weathering a massive storm on the first night to nursing sore bottoms and seasick tummies, but we rode some unforgettable highs as well.

“Each night, I would look up in awe of the stars, and the sunsets and sunrises were mind-blowing. We had all sorts of visitors – pods of dolphins, turtles and even a huge orca that breeched right beside my oar!

Claire took on the challenge in memory of her dad, George Blagbrough, who passed away in August 2018. The women raised over £5,000 for Cornwall Blood Bikes, which helped give George some extra time with his family, as well as Carefree Space and Exmouth and Lympstone Hospiscare.

Having swapped big data for big waves for the best part of three months, Claire will return to work at Crown Records Management in Enfield later this month.

Philip Britton, Group Vice President of Crown Records Management, commented: “We have all been glued to the race tracker following Claire’s progress and are so proud to have been a part of the fundraising. It’s been so inspiring to watch her amazing race. Some employees have even been inspired to take on their own charity challenges in the coming year.”