Irish rower makes history setting new 'Round Britain' record
AN IRISH rower made history setting a new 'Round Britain' record and clinching his share in a €130,000 bounty.
Gavin Sheehan (25) from Blackrock in Cork was part of a four-man team who smashed the non-stop Round Britain rowing record of 26 days 21 hours and 14 minutes.
Incredibly, Gavin and his team slashed 12 hours off the old record.
Their finishing time would have been even more impressive but for the fact they had to wait for strong tides in the Thames Estuary to turn in their favour.
"They are really strong tides and currents...we had to wait off Southend for the tide to turn so it could sling-shot up up towards London," he said.
Gavin and his team, nicknamed ‘The Islanders’ because they all hail from islands, were an astonishing 400km ahead of their nearest rivals.
The team, comprised of Gavin and Josh Taylor (24), Alan Morgan (23) and James Plumley (24), set off with five other boats on June 1 to complete the arduous 3200km round Britain race.
Alan and Josh hail from Mersea Island in Britain while James is from Guernsey.
Gavin learned his rowing skills on the River Lee in his native Cork.
He has been in training for almost two years for the Round Britain record attempt.
Four of the boats abandoned the GB Row 2013 trek within seven days due to a combination of boat problems and illness.
But Gavin’s boat, ‘Black Oyster’, defied heavy seas, busy shipping channels, exhausting tides and even a back problem for one of the rowers to leave themselves within striking distance of the record.
The toughest part of the voyage was rounding Scotland where seas were heaviest and temperatures were most challenging.
However, the crew also braved difficult conditions in the Bristol channel.
The four rowers had to pass Tower Bridge in London by 5pm (Thursday) to set the new record.
They can now claim a €130,000 bounty – the world’s richest rowing prize - after successfully setting a new record.