PRESS RELEASE July 12 2013



Two west country men who have spent the last 26 days rowing 2,000 miles non-stop around Britain set a new world record when they reached Tower Bridge today(Friday).

Jason McKinlay and Josh Tarr, from Salcombe, Devon knocked 11 days off the existing world record when they came home after 41days 4hours and 38minutes at sea in a rowing boat no bigger than a family saloon.

On June 1, six boats set off from Tower Bridge to race around Britain’s mainland.

By the end of the first week, when the race reached Land’s End, four crews had abandoned the race, mainly due to mechanical problems caused by rough seas.

The only two boats left racing were a four-man team, the Islanders, as well as Jason and Josh, who are known as Team Savoir Faire.

The four-man crew finished two weeks ago, setting a new world record of 26 days for the epic 2,000-mile non-stop race, the world’s toughest rowing race.

Despite having just two rowers, Jason and Josh have managed to complete the epic journey in under six weeks, living in a boat no bigger than a family saloon.

They braved storms and huge waves in the Irish Sea and were pinned down by bad weather for several days in the north of Scotland.

When they returned to Tower Bridge after nearly six weeks at sea, the two-man crew were met by family and well wishers at the Royal Naval Reserve base, HMS President.

Chris Usborne, race director of GBRow 2013, said: “After battling challenging weather and tidal conditions, Savoir Faire are enjoying excellent weather on their final lap of GBRow 2013. In a measured and very professional row, they have smashed the current world record by 20per cent to become new World Record holders and finish the toughest rowing race in the world.”

Will de Laszlo, race President and skipper of the crew that set the previous world record in 2005 said: “It was an epic effort. Massive congratulations to the record-breaking team. I’m incredibly proud to be involved in an event that hopefully will inspire other people achieve great things.”

For interviews with Jason McKinlay and Josh Tarr or race organisers or for more details contact:

Mike Ridley at GB Row 2013

(m) 07836 376 943   T 01474 85 45 45


Royalty free photos available on

Note to Editors

In 2010, Army doctors Nick Dennison and Hamish Reid rowed around UK in 51 days but they started and finished at Lymington, Hants and did not go up and down the River Thames, which adds another two days to journey.



Age: 42   Life coach and gym owner 

From: Now lives in Salcombe, Devon with wife Sarah and their children Oliver, 3, and baby Emilia Rose, born in February. Originally from Cheshire.


ProfileJason is an adventurer who has rowed the Atlantic. He has run no fewer than 55 marathons, including a marathon on Everest and the gruelling Marathon of the Sands in the Sahara desert. After rowing around Britain, he hopes to complete the Bob Graham round, covering 42peaks in the Lake District in 24 hours.

 Jason is convinced that a pair of rowers is the way to beat the record because of the crew dynamics.


Height:  6ft 3ins      94kilos



Age: 27

From: Churchstow, near Salcombe, Devon. Works as a sound recordist and lives with partner Helen.

Profile: Growing up near Salcombe, Josh Tarr is an avid surfer and accomplished sailor. He has also tried his hand at lots outdoor pursuits like kayaking and mountaineering. Last year he cycled alone and unassisted from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for charity.

Height  6ft          Weight 14stone.



‘Why is this race the ‘toughest rowing race in the world?’

Totally unaided, crews in GBRow 2013  tackled the most dangerous & fast turning tides on the planet; cross the world’s busiest shipping lanes, have to avoid heavy shipping including car ferries, industrial fishing trawlers & private yachts on autopilot and navigate live firing ranges at Lydd, Wembury & Aberporth. Just being close to & in sight of land for almost the entire duration makes it easy 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 2013 is tougher than any other rowing race anywhere in the world.

 ‘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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on PRESS RELEASE July 12 2013

BLOG from Savoir Faire in River Thames Jul 11

Blog from Jason at anchor in the Thames upriver from the QEII bridge at the Dartford Crossing:

Jason McKinlay on the Thames

Jason McKinlay on the Thames

So its nearly done.. Almost 2000 miles of The British Isles, two men in a small boat. It’s been a truly wonderful experience, with more high’s than we thought we’d have. The only low points, if any, we’re waiting for tides to change so we could carry on the challenge and of course those winds. What we’ve come to realise, is that those moments of waiting we’re as big a part of the challenge as rowing at 10.2 knots in the stormy Irish Sea.

 My favourite bits: 

 The Scottish coastline is breathtaking (apart from Peterhead. I’m taking them some paint for the houses!)

 Everywhere was beautiful in different ways and that’s just it. The contrasting scenery of The British Isles is truly amazing. Each changing with the changing conditions.

 savoir Faire Josh and flagWe know we had incredible weather and wind for the first few weeks but we’ve also been dealt our fair share of the tough stuff too. We’ve had decisions to make and made the right ones and when there’s no decision to be made, we’ve weathered the storms.

 This entire epic journey would have been extremely different, genuinely, if it wasn’t for your support and encouragement along the way. Breaking this record and establishing a challenging feat for someone to break in the future for two men on the oars has been truly memorable.

 Thank again to everyone.. We cross the line tomorrow, all being well, under Tower Bridge around 12 to 12:30 with the tide.

 Jason McKinlay x


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New Blog from Josh Tarr on Savoir Faire.

Savoir Faire Josh Tarr2Incredible day yesterday. We made a big push and covered much more distance than we’d hoped with both of us on the oars. We both needed to eat and rest so I stayed on for a couple hours whilst Jay got some food and very little sleep! At that point where Jay closed the hatch and I was left with a light northerly wind pushing us in the right direction, the rowing was very easy.

I settled in for a couple minutes reflecting on some of what we’ve been through and it felt like we were now being allowed to cruise home. It sounds strange but it felt like we’d done it, past all the adversity, the unfavourable weather, the technically challenging parts of the British Isles and now this last part is a formality. I shouldn’t speak too soon because rowing 90 miles down to and up the Thames is as good a challenge as any but in relation to what we’ve already done it feels very comfortable.

  With all this in mind, I had a moment, music on, looking past the stern there was some city lights and that light orange haze all around them. I tipped my head back to look straight up and it was one of the clearest skies we’ve had. If this was a film then it could easily have run the credits at that point.

 Big love, JT x

Posted in Race Directors Journal | Comments Off on BLOG from SAVOIR FAIRE Jun 10


Six hours together on the oars last night, meant Jason McKinlay and Josh Tarr made real progress towards the finish of GBRow 2013 – the world’s toughest rowing race.

Savoir Faire Josh1At the start of day 39 at sea, the pair from Salcombe, Devon are now around 90 miles from the finish at Tower Bridge in London. At the moment, we expect them home early afternoon on Friday (July 12).

That means it will have taken them 41 days to row around the British mainland – a new Guinness World Record for this epic feat.

In a call to race HQ this morning from near Southwold on the Suffolk coast, Josh said: “We are please at how we’re doing. We’re ahead of where we thought we would be.

“We rowed together for six and a half hours last night with the tide and were making six knots at times. I stayed on the oars for two more hours after that to allow Jason to rest.

“But by the time Jason came on for his shift, the tide was too strong. So at 02.30, we anchored for a while. We now have a tail wind blowing about 12 knots and with just Jason on the oars, we are rowing at four knots.

“Our plan is to only have one on the oars when we have the tide with us, changing shifts every two hours. But when the tide is against us, we will double up and keep going,

“The tide is due to turn again this afternoon at about 13.00 – 14.00.”


Posted in Race Directors Journal | Comments Off on RACE UPDATE 09.00BST Jul 10


Savoir Faire are at anchor just south of Happisburgh on the Norfolk coast, 139miles from the GBRow 2013 finish. At this stage it now looks likely they will reach Tower Bridge early on Friday afternoon (July 12). This will be revised during the week as they approch London.

Savoir Faire Jason and rainbowAfter making the 100-mile crossing from North Yorkshire to North Norfolk, Jason McKinlay and Josh Tarr both posted blogs that tell the tale of the big crossing:

Getting to Bridlington was a great challenge within a challenge. We’ve had many of those. We try and balance out humour, humility and getting a true picture across to you so you can feel a little part if this. There’s the sessions where we’re completely wasted and just sleep for two hours before getting back on, and then the ones where the scenery gets you through. The general 24 hour routine,… looks like this: –

Row hard, eat, sleep, row hard, eat, sleep, row hard, sleep, anchor.. 2 in a cabin for a few hours, then it again..

The best session of the day seems to me to be between 2-4am, when first light breaks though, or 11-1 where last light leaves us for an hour or so… In Scotland, it stayed light all night!

A truly epic journey of character and emotions, physicality and decision making…

Now that’s priceless…

Jason x

Josh Tarr

Josh Tarr

Epic few days – An update from both of us now we have signal!

From Hartlepool we made a big push to Bridlington, an ambitious target time was set and it was hard work through the sweltering heat..

The coastguard was flying around looking for a kid that had been swept out to sea in a small boat, a kayaker was helping with information through the VHF and thankfully all worked out and the kid got… back safe! It’s a tricky place the coast!

We needed to anchor up for a few hours yesterday morning and shortly after getting comfortable in the cabin we heard a loud snorting next to us?! Neil (the seal) was literally a meter from us, we both squeezed our heads out the hatch at the back (stern) and watched him sweeping back and forth past the back of the boat, knocking the rudder! Really cool but we needed some sleep..

We set off again, made good time and arrived early to Bridlington! The plan was to regroup and see whether an open crossing to Norfolk would be feasible based on wind and tides.. All looking good we kept going ahead of schedule! A great couple days followed, blessed with fair weather!

We’ll try to post about our individual experiences on the oars but anyone that has been following the brick can see we’re anchored just off the Norfolk coast ready to work our way around to the mouth of the Thames at 6am!

It’s so difficult to tell still but our best guess at this stage is arriving at tower bridge on Friday, we’re doing our best! Spirits are high and we’re keen to make every bit of progress we can. The tides are strong around here so we need to play it smart and make the most of the windows.

We should have signal from now on so there’ll be a few more updates coming your way as we go..

See you soon

Josh & Jay x

Posted in Race Directors Journal | Comments Off on RACE UPDATE17.00BST Jul 09


Savoir Faire sunrise Jul 7Savoir Faire are now just four miles off the north Norfolk coast, near Sheringham and more importantly less than 160 miles to the finish.

In a text to race HQ overnight, Jason McKinlay predicts they will reach Tower Bridge in London for a Friday/Saturday finish. We will be able to predict the finish with much more accuracy as the week progresses.

In his message after two days rowing across 100 miles of open sea from Flamborough Head to Norfolk, Jason wrote: “Epic few days. Loved the gruelling rowing and we had come through some physically tough days. We’ve both worked hard to hit the goals and stay on target for a Friday/Saturday finish. So finger crossed.” 


Posted in Race Directors Journal | Comments Off on RACE UPDATE 07.00BST Jul 09


After clocking up 42 miles yesterday, team Savoir Faire have set themselves target of 50 miles today. If they manage to achieve that they will be at Flamborough Head, near Bridlington, by 10.00 tomorrow.

Josh Tarr

Josh Tarr

In a phone call to race HQ from off the North Yorkshire coast near Whitby, Josh Tarr said: “Once we reach Bridlington we’ll have a big decision to make. Do we head straight to the north Norfolk coast? That’s a journey of about 100 miles.Or do we keep hugging the coast?

“The wind is forecast to drop from about 21.00 and then swing round to the north tomorrow. A tail wind would certainly help us to make the crossing direct to Norfolk.”

Savoir Faire now have less than 270 miles to the finish. Keep you eyes on the tracker overnight, folks, to see how they get on.

Posted in Race Directors Journal | Comments Off on RACE UPDATE 18.00BST Jul06


It is five weeks exactly since GBRow 2013 began at Tower Bridge in London at 08.16 on June 1 when six boats set off to race unassisted around mainland Britain.

Jason McKinlay

Jason McKinlay

After 35 days at sea, Josh Tarr and Jason McKinlay of Team Savoir Faire are still racing and chasing a new Guinness World Record for a pair of rowers.

In their two-man boat, they had hoped to reach the finish at Tower Bridge in under 40 days. With less than 300 miles to go and the wind forecast to change in their favour they could return towards the end of next week.

Josh and Jason managed to row through the night again last night and are now off Hartlepool, where they are still battling against south-westerly winds.

Josh Tarr

Josh Tarr

But from tomorrow the wind is forecast to switch to a north-easterly, which will help increase their daily mileage. In thos conditions, will they follow race winners the Islanders and ‘go for the drop’ and row direct from Flamborough Head near Bridlington to the north Norfolk coast?

Or, will they be forced to hug the Lincolnshire coast, before crossing The Wash? Keep watching the tracker, folks!


Posted in Race Directors Journal | Comments Off on RACE UPDATE 08.16BST Jul 06


Portrait of Chris UsborneChris Usborne, race director of GBRow 2013 writes: Team Savoir Faire, the last boat in GB Row 2013 should finish the Race at the end of next week as current weather forecasts are favourable.

I spoke to Savoir Faire skipper Jason McKinlay at 09:30 this morning as his rowing partner, Josh Tarr, was on the oars making slow progress against both tide and light winds.

dunlaoghaireJason said: “The weather was absolutely beautiful at 06:00 this morning, it’s currently overcast but warm, so good rowing conditions.

“We had a good four-hour row overnight, each rowing for the full two-hour stint planned. However after my stint the  southerly gusts picked up again and forced us to anchor”.  

During their rest time yesterday they cleaned the boat (cabin space) thoroughly and checked food supplies for the remainder of the journey, having plenty for the 4,000 calories a day they need for their remaining time on the oars.

They even caught some 3G signal recently and listened to commentary on the Murray/Verdasco match at Wimbledon.

Media savvy Jason then reflected: “Hope Kate has her baby early, Murray wins at Wimbledon, then with the Lions tour finished, we might get on Jonathan Ross.”

The sentence was finished with his impish giggle, showing a man totally and wholeheartedly in control of his destiny.

Jason revealed how he dealt with the long enforced periods at anchor, “thinking about the family a lot, can’t wait to see them at the finish and HMS PRESIDENT”

He added on the dynamic with rowing partner Josh: “We talk a lot, it’s good, we focus on not getting frustrated at being buffeted left and right 24/7 – it’s just continuous, but it’s mind over matter and neither of us will let it get to us.
“We’ve had to make plenty of decisions whilst on the challenge, many were not always easy to make, like going to anchor for 18 hours and more, or turning back to Arbroath to recover ground already completed. BUT we are happy they have all been correct – makes me feel good, and safe”

Posted in Race Directors Journal | Comments Off on RACE DIRECTOR’S BLOG Jul 05


They’re on their way home! Jason McKinlay and Josh Tarr are back on the move and determined to make the most of the improving weather to reach the finish in London.

Savoir Faire left anchor at around 23.00 last night. Hugging the Northumberland coast to try and avoid the worst effects of the 13knot south-westerly wind, they had made around 12 miles in eight hours and are now pat Alnwick – around 25miles north of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Josh and Jason wrote a blog yesterday, expressing their frustration at being cooped up in their tiny cabin yet again – this time for 18 hours.

Josh wrote: 23.00 We’re off!

Frustrating day yesterday but we made good use of it and we’re on our way earlier than we thought J…the fruit and nut disappeared, we’ve sorted out the last of our meals and have thoughts of home as we row…

It’s not over yet but the forecast looks good for now!

Game on! JT

Earlier Jason had written: Thursday was probably our toughest day yet, 18 hours inside a cabin together with little room…Rowing six hours is a dream at the moment. So bad that I went to air outside at the oars while we sorted our food out. When we start this time, he [weather] windows look good for a few days (at this stage). We won’t be hanging around. J



Posted in Race Directors Journal | Comments Off on RACE UPDATE 08.00BST Jul 05