The albatross is a huge sea bird that can go for months without touching land and the wandering albatross has the largest wingspans of any flying bird, of up to 12 feet. Both of these characteristics are fitting for our crew, about to embark on GB Row Challenge and with some huge arm spans from the likes of Andrew Triggs Hodge, triple Olympic rowing champion.
But it is what the albatross represents environmentally where we align most closely. The albatross is one of countless wild species that is struggling to survive in a world being changed by humans, and it represents the nature that we need to protect. In particular, ocean plastic waste is a big problem for these birds, skimming the water and mistaking plastic for food, which is then fed to their young, with fatal impact.
Some species of albatross have recently been spotted off the coast of Cornwall, when they are not associated with Britain, and so this rare and unusual siting also embodies our crew. We have a superb but uncommon mix of Olympians, a Paralympian, a scientist and a former world record holder for this event. We want to inspire anyone from any background to step up and take on a mighty challenge and to do so with a purpose.
Robin and a wandering albatross in the Oxford Museum of Natural History
Our Team Fundraising
Team Albatross is fundraising for Active Row, a programme run by the charity London Youth Rowing. Sport is one of the most powerful tools to support and guide all young people, but it's not a level playing field and those who need it the most face the biggest barriers. Active Row ensures that those who are left behind have an opportunity to find a sport that works for them and access the vital life skills and basic developmental needs they're excluded from. The benefits of rowing as a sport are clear to us all in terms of structure, teamwork and inner motivation. So we are delighted to be supporting this brilliant charity. Please help us in raising money to support an inspiring and worthy cause.
Albert Farrant lives by the sea in East Sussex and has always loved the open ocean. A keen surfer and former sailor, Albert competed in a number of offshore sailing races whilst living in Australia between 2001 and 2016, including the storm-swept 2004 Sydney to Hobart yacht race, where his crew were among less than half the starting fleet that managed to limp into Hobart to complete the race. Other than zigzagging a tender back to a ‘proper’ boat, Albert had never rowed prior to this opportunity arising, but is now learning under the tutelage of the world leading talent at the mighty Eastbourne Rowing Club. For the last 15 years, Albert has worked for investment firms focused on turning around and transforming small to medium sized businesses, including working with Will de Laszlo at Agathos for a number of years. In work as well as life, Albert is a strong believer that nothing worthwhile comes easily, and the harder the journey, the sweeter the celebration when the destination is reached. Albert shares his life with his long-suffering wife Lucy and two beautiful daughters, who can’t comprehend why anyone would want to spend three weeks or more alternating between rowing and lying in a damp smelly cupboard!
Andrew Triggs Hodge OBE
A British former rower, Andrew is a three-time Olympic champion at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016, and four-time world champion. In a British coxless four in 2012, he set a world's best time, which still stood as of 2021. Andrew’s passion for the environment can be seen from the completion of his undergraduate degree in Environmental Science at Staffordshire University, before undertaking his master's degree in Water Science, Policy & Management at Oxford University. While there, he stroked the Dark Blues to victory in the Boat Race in 2005. Andrew now works with London Youth Rowing and with Thames Water in an initiative to reduce the pollution of the Thames. He is also a keen supporter of the World Wildlife Fund and is one of the charity’s UK bloggers. In 2013, he was awarded Olympic Athlete of the Year for the Sport of Rowing and led the World Rowing Top 10 list for male rowers.
Edward Russell is an entrepreneur and crypto investor who has occupied himself with an eclectic range of projects over the years including a medical devices start-up, English tutor, real estate agent, craft brewer and beer innovator. He relishes starting new projects, the opportunity to learn that comes with the process and, above all, working with others.Throughout school and university, Edward was charmed by rowing and the allure of jumping into a boat remains as strong today as it has ever been. Lessons learned and moments shared with friends on the water have been central to his approach to life. He believes that everything is done better in a team, hard work pays, and, it is possible to disagree without being disagreeable. Inherently social and adaptable, Edward approaches each task with a keen sense of sincerity and dependability. Edward is British/Swiss dual national and currently lives in Switzerland with his very wonderful and understanding wife, Magali. They have 2 sons, Logan and Damon and a german shepherd dog called Zena.
Kat Bruce is a biologist and a world expert in the use of environmental DNA – a technology that lets you survey biodiversity by analysing the DNA in water taken from rivers, lakes and oceans. After completing a PhD at the University of East Anglia, she founded NatureMetrics in 2015 to put this tool into the hands of conservationists and environmental managers all over the world, so that they can properly account for nature. Before that, Kat was a tropical ecologist working on conservation projects in the Amazon rainforest. She led several expeditions, including a descent of the Urubama river on balsa-wood rafts to document the impacts on local communities of controversial natural gas projects in Peru, and spent months living deep in the jungle in Ecuador. Kat has rowed since 2005, first in Cambridge, then at UEA and since 2011, she has been at Mortlake Anglian and Alpha, where she has trained and raced in almost every seat of every boat class. A rowing expedition that includes environmental data collection is something she couldn’t say no to!
William de Laszlo
William de Laszlo was told at school that he would never get any A levels, let alone go to university. William is Co-Founder/Joint Managing Partner of Agathos Management LLP, a private equity firm based in London. Agathos invests in UK SMEs, looking for passionate management teams who are on a growth trajectory. Encouraged by his grandfather and father “to serve”, after graduating from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, he spent six years in the British Army. He got a lucky break as an intern and joined J.P. Morgan, followed by another mid-market private equity firm, where he worked on more than 25 transactions. Will has an MBA with Distinction from Oxford University’s Said Business School, and a history of overcoming adversity in education, with his academic success coming despite his heavy dyslexia. He believes that most problems can be solved - sometimes they just need to be looked at differently and always need hard work. A sense of humour “no journey is long with good company”, humility “you are only as good as the people you work with”, trust “when you can’t read very well this is key” and enthusiasm “energy - the more you put in the more you get out” are key values that drive Will. He has previously rowed around the coast of Great Britain - after being told that it was impossible - in the first GB Row Challenge crew to do so unsupported, setting a world record in the process and raising over £150,000 for charity. He can often be found practicing what he learned in the book ‘Born to Run’, by running barefoot with or after his four kids - Alice, Walter, Gabriel and Xander, and cold water swimming in the Serpentine. “Plus est en vous” - There is more in you than you think!
(Unfortunately due to injury Robin has had to withdraw from GB Row 2022 but is still a key part of Team Albatross and supporting from land)
Robin Bourne-Taylor recently returned from living and working in Ghana, where for the past 5 years he ran a world-leading youth development organization combining education and elite sport. Now back in the UK, he is currently a co-founder in a social purpose start-up, Allegr, looking to increase connection and support mental and physical well-being within the military and veterans’ community. Robin rowed at Oxford University in four Boat Races and competed for the British Rowing Team at the Athens and Beijing Olympic Games. After university Robin joined the British Army from 2005-2010, commissioning into the Household Cavalry Regiment. He was a recipient of the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross following his service in Afghanistan. Robin is excited about GB Row Challenge not only as another chance to get the best out of a hugely demanding team adventure, but also for the event’s ground-breaking environmental purpose. His wife, Hannah Bourne-Taylor is an upcoming nature author and passionate conservationist and her enthusiasm for this marine research project is a driving force behind Robin being able to take part in the event.
Tim was born with Gros Talipes, a severe disability in both feet whereby his feet were at a 90 degree angles to his legs. Despite having over 50 anaesthetics to correct his disability he has always striven for success. Tim had a successful career at director level in sales and marketing spanning 20 years until 2013 when he received a phone call that would change his life forever.
The call in 2013 was from a canoeing coach to ask if he wanted to come back to try and become and athlete at the age of 41. As a child he paddled a canoe competitively but hadn’t been in boat since he was 18. Through the last 8 years Tim has transformed his life, accepted his past and is on a journey of self-discovery. He has won medals Nationally & Internationally for Great Britain. Now Tim is taking on one of the hardest ocean rowing races on the planet.