Portsmouth University scientists start epic 2,000 mile rowing challenge for important cause

The GB Row Challenge competitors set off from Tower Bridge
The GB Row Challenge competitors set off from Tower Bridge Credit: University of Portsmouth

Researchers from the University of Portsmouth have joined rowers on a 2,000 mile rowing challenge around the entire coast of Great Britain.

Two teams set off on the GB Row Challenge from Tower Bridge with the aim of collecting data on microplastics, temperature, noise pollution, and biodiversity.

The crews of six are also competing to make it into the Guinness book of world records, with the challenge considered the world's toughest rowing race.

Those involved have to row continuously and unassisted while navigating shipping lanes, complex tidal streams and unpredictable weather.

The GB Row Challenge are hoping to get themselves into the Guinness book of records Credit: University of Portsmouth

One of the two groups, team Sea Change, is a group of female environmental professionals working in the fields of nature, climate and corporate sustainability.

If successful, they’ll be the third all-female crew to have ever completed this challenge.

The team’s skipper, Dr Kat Bruce, is founder of NatureMetrics, a UK-based nature technology company that specialises in the use of environmental DNA to measure and monitor biodiversity.

Kat is a keen rower and took part in GB Row Challenge 2022 in the only crew to complete the challenge that year.

The GB Row Challenge is considered one of world's toughest rowing adventures Credit: University of Portsmouth

She said, "It’s two years since I last competed in the GB Row Challenge and I’m excited to be getting back in the same boat!

"My team is made up of really inspiring women united by their commitment to marine conservation.

"We have an American, a Canadian, a South African and three Brits, so a truly international crew ready to take on the challenge.”

The second group of competitors, team Coastal Odyssey is made up of adventurers united by their love for the sea.

They are keen to raise awareness about ocean health and hope to get the record for the first and fastest mixed crew to row unsupported around the British mainland.

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