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Rowers set to take on hardest challenge yet
A DETERMINED oarsman is preparing to tackle one of the toughest races on the planet by rowing non-stop for 2,000 miles around the UK.
James Plumley, a mechanical engineer from Worcester, is part of a four-man team hoping to raise £50,000 for charity by completing the daunting GBRow challenge in a new world-record time.
Although his crew, known as “the Islanders”, are all experienced rowers, Mr Plumley, aged 23, does not believe that anything can “properly prepare” them for the challenge ahead.
“Battling severe fatigue, sleep deprivation, dehydration, horrendous blisters and all the problems that four men living in a 25-foot long boat encounter, we will attempt to row day and night non-stop around the entire circumference of England, Wales and Scotland,” he said. “It will be a completely different scale, probably 10 times tougher, than anything we have ever done in the past.”
The tough rules of the race do not allow any contact with support vessels or the shore once crews are underway, meaning participants are quite literally alone at sea for a month with only the materials and supplies they initially set out with.
The Islanders team, completed by Josh Taylor, Gavin Sheehan and Alan Morgan, will have to battle against unpredictable winds and fast-turning tides, navigating busy shipping lanes in three seas and one ocean as they work a constant rotation of two hour shifts -meaning sleeping for more than an hour-and-a-half will be off the cards for the duration of the challenge in June.
To up the stakes further, Mr Plumley’s crew are not just aiming to finish the race but are hunting down the world record of 26 days, 14 hours and 12 minutes, set way back in 2005.
He is currently training six days a week at Worcester Rowing Club, trying to cram in as many long-distance stints as possible to ready him for rowing 12 hours a day.
“At the moment I just cannot wait. We have been building up to this since mid-December so I just want to get out there now and do it,” he added.
Mr Plumley is currently seeking sponsorship and donations to help his crew reach its £50,000 fundraising target for the Evelina Children's Hospital in London.
He said that while the team will be pushing themselves to the limit for awareness and personal achievement, “every day there are people in hospital going through far worse”.
To sponsor the Islanders, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/theislanders. Also, potential commercial sponsors can visit theislanderschallenge.co.uk/sponsorship for more information.