A New Forest company director is among a team of oarsmen who hope to set a new world today by being the first to row round mainland Britain non-stop.

Will Turnage, from Sway, and the rest of the GB Row Challenge team are expected to reach Tower Bridge in London this morning, completing the 2,000-mile adventure in 26 days.

The four-man crew's bid was nearly left high and dry just 40 miles from their destination yesterday when they ran aground on Maplin Sands, off the Essex Coast.

They became stuck negotiating a short cut in force-five headwind and a strong tide and had to wait five hours for the tide to re-float their vessel.

The crew is hoping to set a new Guinness World Record of just 26 days to row 2,000 miles around Britain in the 23ft-long boat Outward Bound.

It has made progress of 70 miles a day, despite being hit by high winds and 50ft seas in the Irish Sea, being capsized by a freak wave off Scarborough and the grounding on a sand bank.

Non-stop circumnavigation of Britain in a rowing boat has never been attempted before, according to organisers.

Britain's treacherous tides and crowded shipping lanes make it one of the most dangerous journeys ever to be made in a rowing boat, they say.

As well as setting a new world record, the crew hope to raise £1m for the Outward Bound Trust and the Bud Flanagan Leukaemia Fund at the Royal Marsden Hospital, west London.