A group of rowers from Dorset is expecting to finish a remarkable adventure next week. The team of coastal rowers from Bournemouth Surf Boat Club set off from Mudeford Quay in Dorset on 7th May, with the aim of rowing around the UK in 110 days.
Expedition leader Ellis Hagger said: “We initially investigated an Atlantic row, but the costs were prohibitive. However, thanks to extensive restoration work on our 26-year-old surf boat by local craftsmen John Clarke and Matt Williams, we realised that we already had a seaworthy vessel.”
The team comprises a core crew of four, plus three auxiliary rowers and several volunteer minibus drivers assisting as on land support. The aim was to row approximately 25 to 30 miles every day in their Australian surf boat the Laura May, with the crew camping on land overnight or taking up offers of accommodation from supportive coastal communities.
The venture is hoping to raise £100,000, which will be divided equally between the group’s chosen charities. These are the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund, which provides support and assistance for both serving members and veterans, and the Wessex Cancer Trust.
However, time and tide have been against the project. Writing on their blog, the crew said: “Unfortunately, this summer has thrown the worst weather at us in two decades, resulting in us losing 35 rowing days, which has put us massively behind schedule.”
The Laura May will therefore have to be towed part of the way to allow the team to return to their families and paid employment.
The crew has a finishing date set for 20th August at the Bournemouth Air Show and says its new focus will be on the total mileage rowed around the UK coastline. This is anticipated to be between 1,600 to 1,700 miles, which is still an amazing feat. You can support the team by donating at their UK Charity Row 2015 page on the Virgin Moneygiving website.