All Crews Rescued During GB Row Challenge

The coastguard has rescued all three crews taking part in the GB Row Challenge because of dangerous conditions. “All three GB Row Challenge boats encountered an unseasonal storm front stretching from the Bristol Channel north through the Irish Sea and the North Channel,” said the GB Row Challenge in a statement.

Three crews, three rescues

The crews all contacted the coastguard to seek assistance in fairly quick succession. Within 48 hours, all were rescued from a variety of tricky situations. The first crew to seek assistance was All Systems Row. Their onshore team contacted the Coast Guard to report that they had lost communication with the crew.

A passing ferry confirmed the position of the boat and noted that the crew was safe but fatigued, and concerned about the worsening weather. The five-strong team decided to row towards Wexford, Ireland with the coastguard monitoring them. On route, the storm damaged their rudder and the crew had to be towed to land.

The Albatross team called for help on Saturday afternoon. A gale-force-eight wind and rough seas hit the six-person team along the coast of Northern Ireland. Unable to continue, the Red Bay RNLI Lifeboat rescued them. Team member Darren Saunders told the BBC that it was “one of the hairiest states I’ve ever been in.”

The Coast Guard rescued the final crew today. The Sea Legs group was caught in the most dramatic situation, when their vessel fully capsized. Though the boat self-righted, the crew was unable to continue rowing. After reaching land, a medic checked over one crew member because of injuries sustained when they capsized.

Well prepared, despite needing rescue

The Coast Guard released a statement regarding the incidents: “The rowers were well prepared, they had all the appropriate safety equipment, a VHF radio, and a satellite phone but they still got caught out. Most importantly, they had a shore contact, who was able to raise the alarm when they lost communications with the first vessel.”

GB Row Challenge has confirmed that all participants are now “safely in harbor and resting”. Teams Sea Legs and Albatross say that they plan to continue rowing as soon as race organizers have checked over the boats.

The GB Row Challenge is a 3,500km row around mainland Great Britain, starting and ending at Tower Bridge in London. All three crews started the race on June 12 and were making excellent progress until the unexpected storm.

Rebecca McPhee

Rebecca McPhee is a freelance writer for ExplorersWeb.

Rebecca has been writing about open water sports, adventure travel, and marine science for three years. Prior to that, Rebecca worked as an Editorial Assistant at Taylor and Francis, and a Wildlife Officer for ORCA.

Based in the UK Rebecca is a science teacher and volunteers for a number of marine charities. She enjoys open water swimming, hiking, diving, and traveling.