Whitby’s historic lifeboat was rowed down the River Thames by world championship winners - who admitted it proved a challenge for them.
It was in preparation for an ‘alternative’ boat race, which will see 250 miniature model lifeboats take to the water in a race to raise awareness of the work the RNLI does and to raise funds for the charity.
The William Riley was rowed along the River Thames last Thursday by members of the GB rowing team, including reigning World Champions George Nash, Mo Sbihi and Adam Freeman-Pask.
It was a 733 metres row along the Oxford/Cambridge boat race route at Putney - one metre for every callout by London Lifeboat stations (Tower, Chiswick and Teddington) in 2013.
Henry Fieldman, GB cox and cox in last year’s boat race said: “733 metres doesn’t sound like much, but against the tide and with a two tonne boat to pull along, it felt like a long way.
“It makes you realise what a heroic job RNLI crews have been doing since 1824.”
James Foad, 2012 Olympic bronse medalist added: “It’s certainly reassuring that the RNLI are using high-tech, high speed lifeboats nowadays!.
“The William Riley weighs a tonne and isn’t built for speed . I was very happy to cross the line.”
The race is at 3pm on Sunday, adjacent to Syon Park and upstream of Kew Bridge.