GB Row events have previously taken place in 2005, 2010 and 2013. Entries are now open for GB Row 2020. Every event has seen Guinness World Records set or broken.
GB Row FACT SHEET
• What makes this the ‘toughest rowing race in the world’?
Totally unaided, the crews have to tackle the most dangerous and fast turning tides on the planet; cross the world’s busiest shipping lanes, have to avoid heavy shipping including car ferries, industrial fishing trawlers and private yachts on autopilot and navigate live firing ranges at Lydd, Wembury & Aberporth. Just being close to and in sight of land for almost the entire duration makes it tough to resist the temptation to quit. They will also cover a distance of over 2000 miles in the very unpredictable Great British weather. Put all these together, and GBRow is tougher than any other rowing race anywhere in the world.
• How many boats are in the race?
There were seven boats entered in 2013. Six crews were rowing for prizes and Guinness world records. Only two boats made it to the finish, proving just how tough this race is.
• How long is the race?
The World Record at the start of the race stood at 26 days, 21 hours & 14 minutes set by a crew of four men in 2005. This record was broken in the 2013 race with a new Guinness World Record set at 26 days, 9 hours and 9 minutes. The Ladies’ World Record stands at 51 days, 16 hours & 42 minutes, set in GB Row 2010 by the Seagals.
• When is the launch?
The launch is from Tower Bridge on Saturday 1st June 2020 as the tide turns to ebb.
• Who were the crews in the last race?
Boat 1: The Coast Girls – Charlene Ayres from Cardiff and Sally Kettle from Kingston, London. Sally and her mother – who had never been in a rowing boat in her life before and stepped in at the last minute – have rowed across the Atlantic.
Boat 2: Pure Gym GB Challenge – A team of two women and two men, led by adventurer Claire Shouksmith, from Bournemouth.
Boat 3: Team Hallin – four men led by Falklands veteran ex-Royal Navy Commander David Hosking, 58. David is the father of London Olympic gold medal rower, Sophie Hosking, 27.
Boat 4: The Islanders – four hunky young men, all pals aged 23 and 25: Skipper Josh Taylor and Alan Morgan from Colchester, Essex plus James Plumley from Guernsey, along with Irish rower Gavin Sheehan.
Boat 5: Withdrawn due to injuries.
Boat 6: Oarsome Adventures – team of six rowers – two women and four men all from West Wales – led by Heather Rees-Gaunt, who is originally from Edinburgh.
Boat 7: Savoir Faire – a pair of male rowers – adventurer and ultra marathon runner Jason McKinlay and Josh Tarr. Both are from Salcombe, Devon.
Boat 8: Ocean Pedal Challenge – A team of three men in a 26-foot-long pedalo, aiming to be the first crew ever to pedal around Britain on water. Skipper Kieran Sweeney, his brother Shaun and friend Terrence Peat are all from Whitehaven, Cumbria. This entrant was withdrawn prior to the start.
• Why was a pedalo entered for the race?
GB Row is a 2000-mile endurance rowing race but the pedalo crew were planning to accompany the rowing race as a prelude to a future round-Britain pedalo race. The pedalo entry was eventually withdrawn on safety grounds following extensive discussions with the Scrutineer and race management team.
• What is meant by non-stop and unassisted?
The crews not allowed tie up into any port during their 2000-mile journey. They must carry all their own food and water. Each boat has a machine onboard to turn seawater into fresh for drinking. They are allowed to anchor at sea if the tide is too strong.
• What route do the crews have to take?
Once they leave Tower Bridge crews can go clockwise or anti-clockwise around Britain. In the history of the race no one has yet gone anti-clockwise up the North Sea and down the Irish Sea. Crews seem to prefer to head for Land’s End first.
• How many GB Row challenges have there been?
The first record was set in 2005 by a single Men’s Four crew, led by Lt William de Laszlo, now president of GBRow. The race was ‘tested’ for full evaluation & credibility in 2010 with two boats. 2013 saw the launch of the first truly competitive race, and the formula is planned to be repeated in 2020.
GBRow is acknowledged to be the toughest rowing race in the world. Over 2000 miles battling against changeable winds and fast turning tides make this a greater test of endurance and skill than transocean rowing.
Some of the footage in the video on the right shows just how challenging some of the conditions were – and this is just the bits the crew could film!
The organisers provide strong support in the run up to the race with recommended equipment lists, navigation training and the expertise of several open ocean rowers as advisers, but once the starting gun is fired the teams are on their own out there on the water with only their on board skills and resources. In GBRow 2005 a World Record was set for a four man team. In 2010 a World Record was set for a woman’s team. What records will be broken in 2013?
The most difficult rowing race in the World today is based on the formula proven in June and July 2010 when Go Commando won Virgin GB Row 2010. The four rowers were also awarded the Virgin Trophy and set a new World Record for a ladies 4 circumnavigating UK waters non-stop and unaided in a time of 51 days 16 hours 42 minutes. This complements the mens 4 World Record time 0f 26 days 21 hours and 14 minutes set by the Club President, Will de Laszlo and his intrepid team of 4 men in 2005.