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GB Row Challenge Propels Climate Change Research

Will de Laszlo and his GB Row crew mates took 80 days of supplies with them on the row around Great Britain in 2005, as they had no idea how long the row would take. Nobody had done it previously. 

The crew ultimately set a world record, rowing around the entire country in less than 27 days. The record has been broken, and the thrill of that adventure combined with scientific exploration lives on with the GB Row Challenge, founded by Will and crew mate Jim Bastin. On this episode of Blue Pioneers, Will talks with Dr. Kat Bruce, skipper of the 2024 GB Row Challenge, whose crew of six women environmentalists will launch their boat on the Sea Change Row Expedition on June 9 from Tower Bridge in London. 

That was the genesis of the GB Row Challenge. The Sea Change Row Expedition team have set a goal to do the same row in 40 days, and have learned much from Will and previous crews. Above all, they will be collecting scientific data that will add to the information from previous year’s explorations, giving scientists and government officials a gauge on climate change. The GB rows were patterned after pioneer explorers who combined adventure with scientific knowledge and provided empirical data to create baselines and predict changes into the future, giving governments and other sectors information to use for accelerating policy changes as needed.

Will said his main goal is to inspire others to do the same, to collect data and could be used to have an impact on UK policy over the long term. In this conversation, he discusses various industries that could be called on to adapt. 

Aside from the science, Will said to row around Great Britain is very different from the Atlantic’s transatlantic currents and prevailing winds that drive the boat across the ocean. But more than that, rowing around Great Britain, along the coast was more appealing for the proximity to nature in sea and on land, regardless of the challenging tides and the torrents of the Irish Sea.

Join Will and Kat for this discussion and more about Will’s work with Agathos Management, an independent private equity firm investing in UK businesses leveraging  >£50m committed capital from family office investors passionate about investing in UK businesses to support their growth and the future economic health of the UK. Agathos has access to further sources of evergreen funding and are dedicated to transaction speed and certainty.

About Will

Will de Laszlo founded Agathos alongside Charles Oakshett and is joint Managing Partner, responsible for running the firm, with a particular focus on investor relations and sourcing opportunities. Having spent 6 years in the British army, Will joined the Family Office Division at J.P. Morgan. After leaving this role, he spent 6 years at another lower mid-market Private Equity Firm, where he worked on more than 25 transactions. In 2014, Will founded Agathos with Charles Oakshett. Will’s passion lies in founding and developing companies, with some pre-Agathos successes (and failures) including Home UK SE, Dyslexic Domain Company, Piggy Mart, Local Today, Knit Ware and Pure Traffic.

Will has an MBA with distinction from Oxford University’s Said Business school, and a history of overcoming adversity in education, with academic success coming despite his heavy dyslexia. Will loves working with and backing great people, and sees Agathos as working for the companies in which it invests – a sense of service that stems from his military background. Will believes that most problems can be solved; sometimes they just need to be looked at differently. Humility, a sense of humour, trust and the unrelenting pursuit of excellence are the values that drive him.

A proud carrier of the MCR 1 gene, Will loves winter over summer (“us gingers can’t hack the heat”) and anything to do with the great outdoors. He has rowed around the coast of Great Britain twice for GB Row Challenge, an organisation that he founded to encourage adventure and to collect empirical scientific evidence of climate change and to read the 2023 Temperature report click here). Will sits on the board of trustees for Charlie Waller, a charity focused on reducing the stigma associated with mental health, and also sits on the board of trustees for two other foundations.

About Kat

Dr. Kat Bruce is CEO and Founder of NatureMetrics Ltd., a leading provider of biodiversity monitoring data, using eDNA surveys, metabarcoding and more.

She is the skipper of a team of six women who work in the fields of nature, climate and corporate sustainability will launch their data-collection Sea Change Row Expedition on June 9. Beginning at the Tower Bridge in London, the crew will row 2,000 miles around the British coastline without stopping and unassisted. Their mission to to collect data on biodiversity, microplastics, sound and ocean temperature, which will supporting a long term study on ocean health led by the University of Portsmouth. 

This blog was compiled using AI.

Kimberly Marsh



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