Wednesday, June 12, 2013

GB Row Update: Then There Were Two

Remember last week when I wrote about the GB Row Challenge, a 2000-mile (3218 km) race around Great Britain in a rowboat? At the time I pondered the question of whether or not it could be the toughest rowing race in the world as the six teams that entered were just fully getting underway. Ahead of them were some considerable challenges, including swift and ever changing currents, unpredictable weather and incredibly rough seas. Add in the fact that these waters see some of the highest shipping traffic in the world, and you begin to understand what they rowers faced as they moved out of the Thames and into the ocean proper.

Fast forward a week and clearly those challenges have taken a toll. Four teams have now dropped from the race, leaving two teams to battle it out for the win, or to merely continue on to see if they can actually finish. Neither of those teams is on a record pace at the moment, but they are continuing to row as best they can under the current conditions.

The two teams that are still rowing include the four-man squad of the Islanders, who are currently out front and the two-man team of Savoir Faire. While obviously a two person team won't be able to keep up with a four-man boat that is capable of rowing 24-hours a day, each of them are just hoping to make it to the finish line and collect the winning check for their category. That would be worth £15,000 ($22,944) if they can manage to do it, but they still have a long way to go. As of this writing, the Islanders still have 835 nautical miles to go until they are done, while their competitors are facing 975 nautical miles before they can stop.

It remains to be seen whether or not these two remaining boats can continue to press forward. The majority of the teams that enter this race never finish as is evident by the high attrition rate once again this year. With miles of rough, open water to go, these rowers have a lot of physical and mental challenges yet to overcome and the second half of the race will be more of a grind than the first.

Thanks to Steve Price for sharing an update on this amazing and grueling event.

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