Essex: Men Break Record For Row Race

28 June 2013, 05:18 | Updated: 28 June 2013, 05:28

Four men, two of them from Essex, have broken the record for the fastest time rowing around Britain.

They spent the last 26 days rowing 2,000 miles around the coast of England, Wales and Scotland.

The crew crossed the finish line at London's Tower Bridge just before 5.30pm yesterday (Thursday 27 June) to win the GB Row 2013 race.

They scooped a £100,000 prize for breaking the record, plus £15,000 for winning the race.

The crew - known as the Islanders - were greeted by their friends and family as they finally set foot on dry land.

They completed the course in 26 days, nine hours and nine minutes, breaking the previous record by more than 12 hours.

The new record holders are skipper Josh Taylor, 24, and Alan Morgan 23, both from Mersea Island, Essex, and James Plumley, 24, from Guernsey, and 25-year-old Gavin Sheehan, from Cork in the Republic of Ireland.

Mr Taylor believed that team work was the key to their success. He said: "We are four very competitive guys and we're very close, we're like a family now.

"We motivated each other the whole way round.

"The support back home has just be phenomenal and overwhelming. We didn't want to let anyone down so we pushed hard. Every time we got knocked down, we got back up and carried on going.''

Mr Sheehan revealed that the crew realised on Tuesday that they would break the record. "We didn't know if it was going to happen until two days ago... and all of a sudden you get a sniff of the finish line and it all changes. It's just incredible,'' he said.

Six boats started the race on June 1, but four crews had to pull out by end of the first week, mainly due to mechanical problems caused by rough seas.

But the Islanders carried on, braving a snapped oar caused by a storm and a live military firing practice near John O'Groats.

They also turned down medical assistance after Mr Sheehan hurt his back while rowing in huge waves in the Bristol Channel.

Will de Laszlo, race president and skipper of the crew that set the previous record in 2005, said: "It was an epic effort. Massive congratulations to the record-breaking team.

"I'm incredibly proud to be involved in an event that hopefully will inspire other people achieve great things.''