Former Skegness RNLI volunteer completes record breaking round Great Britain rowing challenge

A former Skegness Grammar school student, who went on to captain yachts, has completed a gruelling record breaking round Britain charity rowing challenge.

Skipper Andy Burns arrived in Cowes just after 5pm tonight (Sunday) in a mixed crew having rowed for 43 days non-stop 2,000 miles unassisted around mainland Great Britain - living, eating and sleeping in a 10-metre boat.

In addition to beating the the world record for rowing around Great Britain, they have raised a total of £8,755 for the RNLI.

Twenty-five teams have attempted the challenge, but only eight have succeeded.

Skipper Andy Burns with the Skegness Inshore Lifeboat crew.Skipper Andy Burns with the Skegness Inshore Lifeboat crew.
Skipper Andy Burns with the Skegness Inshore Lifeboat crew.

This morning, Andy reported they were expected to arrive at Trinity Pontoon in Cowes between 3pm and 5pm after 43 days at sea.

In his last report on Facebook at 9am he said: "It’s approximately eight hours to go until we reach the dock in Cowes after spending 43 days rowing 2000 miles around the coastline of mainland Great Britain.

"We will be the first mixed team to have achieved this unsupported and for these efforts receive a Guinness World Record.

"We have had so much support all the way around and managed to raise a decent amount of money for the RNLI.

Joe Pieniak (front) was  on the inshore lifeboat with Andy and is now  full-time coxwain for the Humber Lifeboat and part-time at Skegness when on rotation.Joe Pieniak (front) was  on the inshore lifeboat with Andy and is now  full-time coxwain for the Humber Lifeboat and part-time at Skegness when on rotation.
Joe Pieniak (front) was on the inshore lifeboat with Andy and is now full-time coxwain for the Humber Lifeboat and part-time at Skegness when on rotation.

"Thank you to everyone for your support."

There is no record for a non stop around mainland GB for a mixed team, although there is a men's record of 26 days and a women's at 52 days.

After losing one crew member in Scotland due to sickness, the team came close to the Skegness coastline last week, where Andy was a volunteer with the the RNLI inshore lifeboat.

Current Slegness Lifeboat crew members went out to greet them, along with a former colleague of Andy's, Joe Pieniak - now full-time coxwain for the Humber Lifeboat and part-time at Skegness when on rotation.

The crew of the ReadySalt Row challenge met up with the crew of Skegness Inshore Lifeboat off the coast of Skegness.The crew of the ReadySalt Row challenge met up with the crew of Skegness Inshore Lifeboat off the coast of Skegness.
The crew of the ReadySalt Row challenge met up with the crew of Skegness Inshore Lifeboat off the coast of Skegness.

Speaking 80 miles from from the finish line just off the coast of Hastings, British Superyacht captain Andy, 36, said: "It was so good to see everyone.

"I was on the lifeboat with Joe and I am so proud of all he has achieved with them."

Rowing around Great Britain is acknowledged to be one of the toughest challenges in the world; with teams facing changeable winds and fast turning tides.

It is a greater test of endurance and skill than Transocean rowing, hence why so few complete it..

ReadySalt Row challenge with the Skegness coastline on the horizon.ReadySalt Row challenge with the Skegness coastline on the horizon.
ReadySalt Row challenge with the Skegness coastline on the horizon.

Ready, Salt, Row have encountered extreme weather, navigating through busy shipping lanes and sleep deprivation, all whilst being able to see land.

In addition to Andy, full crew members starting out were Simone Talfourd (British freelance film marketeer and radio presenter); Mia Showell-Woodsmith (Australian lawyer); James Scott (British professional sailor and+ adventurer); Roy Hubbard (American construction); and Elizabeth Grant (New Zealand Superyacht Chief Officer).

All of them are sailors with 100,000s of nautical miles between them, with good navigation skills rather than the constant brute strength needed to row in challenging conditions. .

"Having spent time at sea we hoped we would have the moral fortitude to get us around," said Andy.

The final team as they navigate their final miles are And, Simone, Mia and James.

"It has been a chess- like game of tidal and wind navigation and as much of a mental battle as a physical one, but one that is worth it for the stunning coastline and wildlife seen along the way and sense of achievement awaiting us," said Andy.

The full crew of ReadySalt Row at the start of the challenge.The full crew of ReadySalt Row at the start of the challenge.
The full crew of ReadySalt Row at the start of the challenge.

"There have been many highs and lows along the way.

"We have seen whales, dolphins and seals pretty much everyday.

"A highlight has definitely been taking time away from life to reset mentally and physically

"The west coast of Scotland with it’s magnificent coastline was also a highlight

"Lows have certainly been the head winds and sleep deprivation

"We can't wait for showers, proper food, and, of course, a celebratory pint,"

Ready, Salt, Row is sponsored by Swedish Water brand Aqua Nobel- and has currently raised close to £8,000 for the RNLI through donations and the JustGiving page.

To make a donation to the RNLI East of England - Lifesavers Fund visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ready-salt-row

The team will have rowed for 44 days if they arrive at the finish on schedule on Sunday.The team will have rowed for 44 days if they arrive at the finish on schedule on Sunday.
The team will have rowed for 44 days if they arrive at the finish on schedule on Sunday.
The wildlife have been a highlight of the trip.The wildlife have been a highlight of the trip.
The wildlife have been a highlight of the trip.
Andy (left) and the team celebrating their arrival in Cowes.Andy (left) and the team celebrating their arrival in Cowes.
Andy (left) and the team celebrating their arrival in Cowes.
The team present a cheque for £8775 to the RNLI which they raised during their round Great Britain row.The team present a cheque for £8775 to the RNLI which they raised during their round Great Britain row.
The team present a cheque for £8775 to the RNLI which they raised during their round Great Britain row.
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