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The Boys Team

Team name: The Misfits

Boat: Trimaran 'Orca' (length 27 feet)

Ollie Hicks
Olly Hicks

Team Members:

Olly Hicks (Skipper)

Age: 28, From: Oxfordshire, Job: Aventurer

At the age of 14, Olly Hicks − who’s a friend of Prince William - announced his intention to row the Atlantic.

Age 23, he became the first person to row solo across the Atlantic west to east, from the US to the UK. He also became the youngest person to have rowed an ocean. It took him 124 days to row from New York to the Isles of Scilly.

He has also competed in the world’s longest canoe race − nearly 500 miles along Canada’s Yukon river.

He launched an attempt to become the first person to row solo around the world in the Virgin Global Row, sponsored by Virgin. He abandoned the expedition after 3 months having hit bad weather off Tasmania.

John Mollison

John Mollison

Age: 50, From: Perth, Job: Property manager. He also owns Orca, the crew’s boat.

Family: Wife Lesley and sons Edward, 20 and Scott, 15.

Background: Falklands veteran served with 59 Royal Engineers and was among the liberators of Port Stanley. His right leg was blown off below the knee when he stood on a landmine two days after the Falklands conflict ended. The blast tore apart the muscle on his other calf.

Undaunted, he has undertaken a number of endurance events for charity, including becoming the first amputee to attempt to row the Atlantic from East to West. He had to be rescued after more than three weeks when his communications systems and water maker failed to work.

He says: “Once you get the taste for adventure, there’s no stopping you.”

David Rowe

David Rowe

Age: 49, From: Blairgowrie, Perthshire, Job: Learning support teacher at a school in Dundee and weekend Army instructor. He also breeds wild boar.

Family: Wife Sandra. Two daughters aged 18 and 12.

Education: Former pupil of Crewe Grammar School for Boys. Joined the Cheshire Regiment in 1983 and served with airborne forces from 1987.

Background: Mountaineer Dave has been on expeditions in Russia, Greenland and Alaska but he has NEVER rowed before in his life.

He was due to row the Atlantic on two occasions in the last couple of years but both attempts were cancelled by the organisers.

But when Olly Hicks announced his intention to join the Virgin GB Row race Dave jumped at the chance to take part.

David reveals: “We hired a fast boat, Orca, from a friend of mine, John Mollison, for the round-Britain row. I kept taunting John in texts that we would be thinking of him sleeping in his bed and that he could come and visit us at the finishing line.

“Eventually, I received a text to say ’you’ll be the death of me, but you’ve got your fourth man!’ ”.

Jack Jones

Jack Jones

Age 27. From: Hoylake, Wirral. Job: Runs a company organising expeditions and is a motivational speaker. Education: Birkenhead School

Former heating engineer Jack Jones is the youngest member of the crew. In 2009, he completed a 50-kilometre ultra marathon on seven continents in seven days. He had never rowed at all when he decided to enter the 2010-mile race around the UK.

For the last three months he has been training with Liverpool Victoria Rowing Club and the British Olympic rowing team's coaches and physios.

Jack says: “A couple of the people I ran with in the seven marathons in seven days on seven continents had rowed the Atlantic and it really whetted my appetite.

“When I heard about the row around Great Britain I put a team together but one by one the rowers fell by the wayside and at one stage I even thought about rowing it on my own!

“Then I got the offer to row with The Misfits and I was delighted to jump into the boat. We’re a strong crew and I have no doubts we can do it.

“Never having rowed before it will be a baptism of fire but I have trained almost non-stop for the last three months and I’m ready for the challenge.”


Trimaran 'Orca'

Interview with Olly Hicks, skipper of the Misfits on quitting the race:

June 14
Orca’s skipper Olly Hicks, 28, has successfully rowed solo across the north Atlantic and became the first person to row from Tasmania to New Zealand but he found rowing around Britain’s coast to be the toughest challenge yet.

He says: “I’m disappointed to be out of the race and I enjoyed it. It was good. I would like to have carried on but I’m not sad I’m no longer out there.

“Our team, the Misfits, hadn’t met each other until four days before the start of the race and after less than a fortnight two of the guys wanted to get off so it was a choice of John and I carrying on, on our own, but I didn’t think that was a viable option.

“I’d gambled on it taking 30 days to complete the row around Britain but by the time we reached Land’s End our attempt at the world record of 26 days had waned.

“We’d had a discussion at Torquay about whether we carry on or not and everyone was happy to continue.

“But we missed the shelter of Land’s End by about an hour and then the north wind kicked in and we drifted aimlessly in and out of the shipping lanes on a sea anchor.

“We ended up anchoring off Wolf Rock lighthouse on Friday. The record was very much waning by that time and then I got the forecast, which showed the prospect of staying there until at least Wednesday before the wind changed in our favour.

“That would have given us only 14 days to get round in the 30 day time frame we’d given ourselves off work and so we decided this was probably the best place to give up our attempt.

“I would do it again definitely. If you set out to do the race as a full-on project, as the girls have, I think the record is easily achievable.

“The girls were so fast at one stage, near Margate, we were in front and rowing as hard as we could and they came flying past us. I wish them all the best and God speed.”

 Ultra marathon runner, Jack Jones, only began rowing a few months ago after signing up for the Virgin GB Row race. Here he explains how the decision was taken to quit the world’s toughest rowing race.


He says: “We weren’t moving and it seemed like the record had slipped out of our grasp. Olly, Dave and myself only had to the end of June off so we took the decision that we were better off getting off the boat.

“The race has been great fun and it’s very disappointing that we weren’t able to break the record

“If we’d come round Land’s End and been met by south-westerlies we’d have really cracked on then but with the north wind in our face and the forecast saying it was going to be like that for ages we decided not to go on.

“It’s not as if there was a conflict of personalities or anything, we really have got on like a house on fire.

“There were so many great bits, I loved it all. The hardest part was the start going down the Thames because we were working three hours on and one off because we had to have a third person steering at that point because we had to be careful.

“The best bits? The scenery and the banter between us.”

Dave Rowe, 49, teacher, army instructor and wild boar farmer had never rowed at sea before but had twice been let down for crossing the Atlantic and was keen to try rowing around Great Britain.

Here’s his verdict on taking part in Virgin GB Row – the toughest rowing race ever:

He said “A month ago we didn’t know each other. Our sea trails were an hour and a half in Gosport, so were getting to know each during the first few days of the race.

“It took us two or three days to settle and when we got it together we did tremendously we flew across from Torquay to Land’s End. I know we were behind the record but we felt as though, ‘this is it, we’re off’.

“We had no doubts in our mind whatsoever that if the weather was with us we were going to get the record.

“When we got stuck at Land’s End we realised we were half way to the record time but only a quarter of the way round the course.

“We realised that the record attempt wasn’t on and there was no point in going on. If we’d sat there for four more days the record wouldn’t have been there.

“Me and Jack (Jones) had the long thin coffin in the bow as our accommodation and we had a good laugh and kept each other going.

“The worst bit of the race is when you are under anchor. I come from a tradition of when you race you race and I was very frustrated when we were forced to put the anchor down. I can understand why when the tide is against you but it is so frustrating to just sit there waiting during a race.

“The best was the day when we did 28 nautical miles and the girls’ team only did four. I knew we could do it if we just pushed along.

“I don’t regret taking part. I don’t regret doing anything I’ve ever done. It’s one of life’s experiences. It gives you more psychological strength.

“I can say ‘I did it’, as opposed to ‘I wish I’d done it’ – there’s a big difference.”