Inspirational Speaker Night

Ella HewtonBy

Wow, what a few weeks we have had!


First, there was the total rebrand and new website (I hope you’ve all had a chance to take a look around by now) – we’re very proud of it and our gratitude to Steph and Steve who made this all possible is boundless!


Last weekend, we had a day of filming down at Mudeford, near Christchurch.  We got to say hello to Doris, she is coming along nicely, with solar panels fitted and the inside cabins taking shape! All starting to feel very real. The new film will be ready in the next week or so, so watch this space! Big thanks to Tom and Dave for the film and edit! =D


Of course we have also been squeezing in the usual of training, sponsorship meetings and a little bit of sleep!


On top of all of this was our Inspirational Speaker Night Fundraiser, which we held on Monday evening.  It was a huge success! We couldn’t have asked for more, almost 100 people, 4 incredible speakers and we raised just over £2000! There’s always a lot to do when putting on events like this, but what strikes me is the huge generosity of people, all willing and, in fact, wanting to contribute and help! From Butchers’ Hall the incredible venue, to Life’s Kitchen who provided the interval food, to Dave and the team at AzoPrint – their kindness made the night what it was, and we can’t thank them enough.


Then of course our amazing speakers – Danny Crates, Dave Cornthwaite, Emily Penn and Martin Hewitt who all kindly gave up their time for free to help us put on the night – Danny hadn’t even met us before!!


First up adventurer Dave Cornthwaite revealed his journey.  As a 25-year-old couch potato with all the ‘boxes ticked’ on paper in terms of what a ‘successful Western adult” is supposed to have; a mortgage, a long term girlfriend, a well-paid job and a cat, he realised things were wrong when on his 25th birthday it struck him that the only thing he really loved within those was his cat! So he made a choice. A choice to change things, and, as he so poignantly put it:

“I decided to live according to how I felt, not what was expected of me” “We’re all exactly the same in terms of potential, it just comes down to attitude and choice”


He went on to explain what followed.  His first adventure, a 3000 mile skateboard across America through to his current series of challenges as part of Expedition 1000, 25 journeys of 1000 miles or more, each using a different form of non-motorised transport.  He also gave us some good advice about putting on the bullsh*t filters. “Whenever you plan a big adventure people will come up with a lot of negative fears, from overturned boats to shark attacks. You certainly have to take your business seriously but you also have to know when to ignore your critics.”


Next up, Martin Hewitt, injured ex-Forces Everest Expedition Leader, had some fantastic advice about understanding your team so you can manage critical pressure situations. “If you don’t really understand each other’s motivations, someone will quit. Understanding why you are all there makes the tough calls work when the time comes”.  Keith our sports psych would agree I’m sure!

Emily Penn, expedition leader and oceans activist thrilled us with tails of life at sea but horrified us with pictures of the enormous plastic gyres she’s studied in the Pacific and Atlantic. She warned us to expect “the sound of pieces of plastic hitting your hull. It’s scary at first but sadly you’ll get used to it”.  She also gave us some useful advice around logistics in the Pacific.


Finally Danny Crates, Paralympic 800m world record holder left us with “Life does not throw challenges, or oceans, at you that you cannot handle”. He went on to explain how we could apply this by staying focused on the small, daily changes. “These subtle changes are really hard to implement but they are the things that make a big difference over time”.


Danny also helped us walk people through a skeleton of our boat Doris which we had taped up on the floor.  This really helped us to explain what it will be like for us when we are out on the ocean.


So we’ll leave you with a massive thank you to our speakers and everyone else who came to and helped out with the speaker night and our own message of inspiration from the night.  “We’ve taken a chance and made the choice to row the Pacific.  We are all committed to the hard work and sacrifices it is going to take to get us to the start line and then across the ocean. We’re creating our own story board and we’d like to ask you what’s yours?”


Welcome to the Coxless Crew!

Laura PenhaulBy

The Coxless Crew team were previously involved with the Coxless Rowers that was developed approx. 2 years ago by Annabel Hancock and Laura Penhaul.  Annabel is unfortunately no longer involved in rowing the Pacific Ocean in 2014, but the vision of the row is still continuing with Laura and the team; Natalie Miles, Ella Hewton and Emma Mitchell. Due to the change of team and in respect of Annabels’ contribution, we are continuing under a new name ‘Coxless Crew’.

An expedition of this scale is certainly called a ‘challenge’ for a reason, but as everyone says ‘it’s getting to the start line which is the hardest’, so surely that’ll mean the rowing part will be ‘plain sailing/ rowing’ .

So a sneaky peak at what we’ve been doing over the last couple of months;

Alongside developing a new website (huge thanks to Steph who worked closely with Ella)

Refreshing a new brand, logo and sponsorship packs  (massive thanks to Steve for working with Nat)

Making fundraising ideas a reality with our #BuyAMile (thanks to Tom for making this short film in a day, wigs and watching you cut Nats hair will be a comedy moment savored for the boat !)

Plus our Inspirational Talk Night on 11th November and the amazing support of our key speakers giving up their time to share their experiences

We have also partnered with ‘Walking With The Wounded’ as our primary charity alongside ‘Breast Cancer Care’. A blog will follow this week with more information and exciting developments.

And finally, we’ve been developing some amazing partnerships with sponsors that are generously contributing to the build of our boat and thanks to them our boat will be on the water by the end of November. Exciting times!


Thank you for your continued support and take a look at our new website


Westfield Stratford – Fundraiser!

Ella HewtonBy

Westfield Stratford – 12 hour row

At the beginning of the month, as most of you probably know if you follow our journey, we had a 12h row fundraising event at Westfield Stratford. Seems like a lifetime ago now, so much has happened between then and now.

We rowed from 9am-9pm; just the smallest taste of endurance rowing and what we’re letting ourselves in for! We took it in turns to do 1 hour shifts rather than the 2hr shifts that we will be doing on the ocean though. We were obviously on stable ground, with lots going on around us (something that will not be the case in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!), however, the elements were still something to contend with! Alright, so not quite an ocean storm but that wind was pretty fierce – we even had to take some of our pop-up banners down at some stages!

A cold, grey early September day, yet our friends and family turned up to support and hold buckets, spreading the word of our adventure and cause to the passers-by – thank you! The public were great, asking questions, emptying pockets and getting involved in our fastest 500m competition. We had 3 Musto jackets provided by our sponsor RayMarine for the winners of each category; male, female and U16.

Congratulations to our winners:

  • Fastest Male: Tony Smith – 1.31min
  • Fastest Female: Julia Sutton – 1.59min
  • Fastest U16: Jessica Tiley – 2.10min

We also had some Paralympians coming to help out and get involved on the way back from the National Paralympic Day in Olympic Park! More support came before the day from our wonderful printers Azo Print, supplying us with our business cards, leaflets and a banner! The rowing machines were kindly supplied by The Rowing Company who continue to support us. Our thanks go to all of these super people!

It’s amazing how many people you can meet in a day! We had loads of kids getting involved too which was great, some of them the first time they’d been on an ergometer. We even met the most inspiring lady who had fought Breast Cancer 3 times and she came and completed the 500m challenge! It’s people like her that have inspired us and they are the very reason why we’ve chosen Breast Cancer Care as our charity. Such strength and courage.

Overall a hugely successful day, and met some incredible people. And we raised just under £1000 split between going towards the boat (which is being fitted with electrics as we speak!!)­ and Breast Cancer Care. This couldn’t have been done without the continuing support of our kind sponsors – thank you!

If you’d like to support us you can Buy A Mile of our 8,446 mile journey across the Pacific Ocean and have your name written on our inspiration wall inside the cabin.

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