Press release: immediate
Issued on behalf of Virgin GB Row 2011
TWO crews have already signed up for Virgin GB Row – a 2,000-mile non-stop unassisted race around the coast of Britain – for a prize fund of £55,000 ($85,000) and a place in the record books.
Organisers are hoping that more than a dozen boats will take part in the gruelling challenge, which begins at Tower Bridge in London on Wednesday, June 1.
The Guinness World Record for the non-stop circumnavigation of the British mainland currently stands at 26days 21hours and 14mins. A bonus of £30,000 ($45,000) will be awarded to the crew that can beat that record.
With more than four months to go, two boats have already registered to take part in the event, sponsored by Sir Richard Branson, who describes GB Row as ‘probably the toughest rowing race in the world’.
During the race around Britain crews will battle against treacherous tides, horrendous winds and navigate some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
Woodvale’s six-man Atlantic boat, Oyster Shack, and John Mollison’s four-man Trimaran, Orca, are already booked to compete.
Falklands veteran Mollison took part in the first-ever Virgin GB Row race, held last year, where his four-man team competed against an all-female crew, skippered by Belinda Kirk.
Mollison and his crew on board Orca were forced to quit when they lost their anchor near Wolf Rock, nine miles from Lands End, and took assistance from a lifeboat on exercise in the area, which breached the race rules.
The women in their mono-hull, Go Commando, went on to complete the race in 51 days, setting a new world record as the first female crew to row non-stop around the British mainland.
But Scotsman John loved taking part in the race so much that he has put together a new crew – including two Atlantic rowers – to take part in Virgin GB Row 2011.
He said: “It is a terrific event – adventure at its rawest. We’re taking part to complete the event. A world record would be a bonus. The weather and currents will dictate if a record attempt is possible.”
Orca’s crew will be skippered by Major Mark Waterson, with Mollison as owner and technical expert, plus Major Pete Rowlands and either Major Dave Hartley or Pete’s brother Dave Rowlands taking the fourth rowing spot.
Mark Waterson and Pete Rowlands were in a record-breaking team of four that rowed the Atlantic from west to east in 2006.
Woodvale Challenge Ocean, organisers of Atlantic and Indian Ocean Rowing events, have registered their lightweight Kevlar and carbon fibre boat for the Virgin GB Row.
The six-man crew has not been named yet but Simon Chalk is likely to be skipper.
Kate Battes, event director at Woodvale said: “We want to win the Virgin GB Row and set a new world record. We have six skilled rowers in mind for the task and we will be announcing their names soon.”
Crews taking part in Virgin GB Row could be racing for the Virgin Trophy, donated by Sir Richard Branson, and a £15,000 first prize.
A £30,000 ($47,000) bounty is waiting for any crew that can beat the current world record of 26 days 21 hours and 14 minutes, set in 2005 by a crew of four men, led by William de Laszlo.
Sir Richard Branson said: “This is one of the most extreme and exciting challenges I have ever come across, rowing around the UK non-stop and un-aided any way and in a competitive race. Definitely the hardest rowing race in the world. How exciting!”
Chris Usborne, race director of Virgin GB Row 2011 said: “This a greater test of endurance and skill than trans-ocean rowing. The race rules allow no contact with the shore or support vessels. Everything you need has to be planned out in advance. Every challenge has to be dealt with using the materials and skills your team brought on board at the start.”
lIt is not too late to register interest in taking part in Virgin GB Row. Log on to www.gbrowchallenge.com or contact Race Organiser Chris Usborne at ChrisU@gbrowchallenge.com or phone +44 772 3088332
Note to Editors
Pictures and interviews are available via Virgin GB Row Media Manager Mike Ridley on +44 7836 376 943 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Press release: immediate:
Issued on behalf of Virgin GB Row 2011