Bexhill backs record-attempting female team of round-Britain rowers

The All System Row team’s ocean-rowing boat made an appearance on Bexhill seafront.

Saturday, 11th December 2021, 11:08 am
The team with the boat at Bexhill

And townsfolk turned out in great numbers curious to see it ahead of the team’s world record attempt circumnavigating Great Britain in June 2022.

Members of the public were surprised to see how small the rowers’ cabins are.

They peered inside the hull where the rations will be stored and they learned how the water maker functions using only solar power.

Support from the Lions' Club

Bexhill people were incredibly generous, signing up to have their names on the boat, buying T-shirts and donating to the team’s chosen charity, Renewable World.

The Lions Club, who have donated £500, came to meet the team and learn more about the challenge.

Local children tried out the rowing seats and the steering, which is surprisingly controlled by tilting a foot to the left and right.

Stewart Hamilton, the director of Ranmove Homes, a local company, brought his family to see the boat and donated an incredible £500.

Training for Lia and Charlie

Race organiser Jim Bastin explained to Bexhill residents how circumnavigating GB is more difficult than crossing the Atlantic because of the ever changing weather, tides and the complex navigational decisions that are required.

Skipper Jess Plail from Battle said: “We were delighted with the level of interest from local people in our world record breaking attempt.

“It means a lot to us to have the community behind us and when we are out on the open sea we will remember that Bexhill is rooting for us.”

First mate Steph Toogood of Bexhill said: “When people were astonished that we’re going to be out at sea on our own, without support, for the duration of the challenge, it brought home to us the extreme nature of what we’re doing. We were blown away by people’s enthusiasm for our endeavour and sobered by their reactions to the challenges and risks we will face.

“One of the Bexhill Sailing Club members suggested that the club could send out boats to say hello as we pass home, which we would absolutely love.”

If you missed the chance to see the boat on this occasion, the crew hope to bring it back to Bexhill again in the spring.

Later in the day, All Systems Row hosted their first fundraising event at the Rowing Social Club, which was a huge success.

It was very well attended by members from the Bexhill Rowing Club and Bexhill Runners and Triathletes, as well as friends and family of the crew.

There were quality live performances from talented local acts: Amy Rose Potter, the Boatmen and Four Teas and a Sugar as well as poet Chris Allchin, who had written a special poem for the crew.

The audience really got into party mode and there was much merriment. A great time was had by all.

Organiser of the event, crew member Lia Evans from Bexhill, on behalf of the rest of the team, said she would like to extend a sincere thanks to the local businesses for their incredible generosity donating a wide range of excellent prizes for the raffle.

She would also like to thank the managers of the venue, who kindly hosted the event and worked hard behind the bar all evening.

Last Saturday, the team successfully completed their first 12 hour dry-land row training session, starting in the dark at 6am, with team members taking turns to row shifts of two hours on and two hours off.

This replicates the rota they will be using on the boat whilst away at sea for the race in June and July.

The training session took place on rowing machines outside Bexhill Rowing Club and once again there was great support from the public and a considerable amount raised for charity.

The rowers concentrated on maintaining a steady pace to last the course and also on refuelling between sessions.

New to rowing, team member Andrea Harwood said: ‘I hurt in places I have never hurt in before!! I have blisters all over my hands. I am certainly going to have to toughen up for the real thing.

“We’re ready to take our training up a notch now and were delighted to welcome the University of Brighton Department of Sports Science on board to help us.”

You can follow the team’s training and fundraising progress on their website www.allsystemsrow.co.uk where there are links to the gofundme and justgiving pages if you would like to support the team or their charity Renewable World.

You can also follow on social media – @alllsystemsrow