BOAT number 4
Team name: The Islanders
Boat name: The Black Oyster.
Four-man crew in a 24-foot-long double-cabin ocean racing boat, which has already crossed the Atlantic.
Named the Black Oyster, the crew have nicknamed her Noreen, which means little honourable one.
Skipper: JOSH TAYLOR
From: Mersea Island, near Colchester, Essex. Single. Part-time barman, aspiring adventurer. His girlfriend, Sarah, is a senior staff nurse in the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London, the Islanders’ chosen charity.
Sailing the 49er Olympic class with Alan Morgan, Josh raced yachts in Britain and Holland. He also helped deliver yachts around the UK coast, including the famous Americas Cup Class.
He was Men’s Rowing Captain at Plymouth university and rowed with James Plumley. Josh has a first Class degree in Marine Studies, including merchant shipping and navigation.
With James, he biked from John O’Groats to Lands End in 7 days. He met Gavin through Alan.
Josh says: ‘They’re the perfect crew, wouldn’t do it with anyone else. This is my toughest challenge but most rewarding to date.
Height: 5’10″ Weight: 88kg
Name: ALAN MORGAN
From: Mersea Island, Essex. Is a post-graduate student in pharmacology at Bristol University. Lives with girlfriend Lauren.
Profile: Alan and Josh Taylor have been pals for years. As eight year olds they learned to sail together at Dabchicks sailing club. They went to sixth form college together in Colchester where they dreamed up adventures. First they canoed the 22km around Mersea Island and then last year became the first people to swim non-stop around the island, taking seven hours to complete it.
Alan says: “The next step was to go around Britain and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Height: 6ft Weight 83kilos
Name: JAMES PLUMLEY
Age 23: Will be 24 during the race, on June 20.
From: Forest Parish, Guernsey. Now based in Worcester. Studied engineering at Plymouth University.
James took up coastal rowing as a teenager on Guernsey. He took part in the 2006 world gig rowing championships, which were held on the island. At university in Plymouth he cycled 1,000 miles from Devon to Marrakech in North Africa. He has also canoed 300kilometres of the River Loire in France.
Height: 188cm 86kilos
Name: GAVIN SHEEHAN
From: Cork, Eire. Works part-time working in family’s garage business
Profile: Gavin was 13 when he first got into a rowing boat and 12 years later he is still in love with the sport. In those years he has won the all Ireland championships, represented Ireland and won a fair few domestic regattas.
He came to the UK to finish his degree in Real Estate and while at university he was elected boat club Caption and met and rowed successfully with Alan Morgan. He got to know James and Josh through Alan.
He says: “I wouldn’t undertake this challenge with anyone else. I believe these guys to be the right men for the job.”
Height: 6’1 Weight: 76kg
OLYMPIAN SUPPORTER: Robin Bourne-Taylor
Oxford & Cambridge boat race winner and GB rower Robin Bourne Taylor is supporting the Islanders. Robin, a former Captain in the Life Guards was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for distinguished services in Afghanistan.
He says: “Having met Alan, Josh, James and Gavin the evening before they set out on their gruelling challenge to row around the UK non-stop, I have absolutely no surprise in seeing they have been in the lead from the start of the race. A modest and very amicable group of guys, it was clear to see how much training they already had done together, how much they wanted to do this and how much they believed and trusted in each other. I think their success in this race will come from that commitment to each other. It will not be about getting to the first marker ahead or the final sprint home, but that commitment may be tested in the middle of a dark night after 20+ days of continuous rowing, when the memory of proper sleep and a level horizon are long gone. Hats off to you guys. You are doing a fantastic job. Dig in and I hope you smash the record.”