RR Interview: Fergus Scholes, Publisher of Row360 and Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge Champion

Photo courtesy of Row360
Henley Royal Regatta seemed like the perfect place and time to launch a new rowing magazine, and Row360 Publisher Fergus Scholes did not miss the chance. Scholes, who hatched the idea of creating a global rowing magazine while racing across the ocean last year during the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, has a long history in the sport, having started at the age of 13. His team, the Atlantic Polo Team, crossed the 3,000 mile course from the Canary Islands to Antigua in 48 days and seven minutes, winning their class and finishing second overall. Now, Scholes has embarked on an entirely different kind of challenge, but with the same patience and determination.

RR: What inspired you to create Row360? What separates it from existing rowing journalism, and how do you see it developing over the coming months and years?

Fergus Scholes: I was fortunate enough to row the Atlantic at the beginning of the year. Forty eight days and three thousand miles gives you some time to think a little, and I decided heading back to my regular desk job, where I had been working in finance, just wasn't what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Rowing is a sport I have always loved since starting as a school boy at the age of 13 at Canford, Dorset, and if I could find a way to make a living somehow in this niche, that would be awesome.

We are trying hard to differentiate ourselves from existing rowing magazines, and the feedback we have received makes me believe we are on our way to achieving this. The international focus is particularly important for us, so this is a big differentiator from existing rowing publications. We are working hard on our second issue already, and successive issues, and are looking forward to producing a magazine long into the future.

RR: What inspired the name?

FS: We were originally looking at more conventional names, but I had a little 'eureka' moment with Row360, and we decided to go for it. I like this one because it is unique and removes any ambiguity over identity. The 360 denotes full circle of content in rowing, in particular the global aspect to the content.

RR: What were some of the immediate challenges that presented themselves when trying to build a worldwide print magazine? Can you describe the current process?

FS: Distribution is certainly a a challenge in a worldwide magazine. This is particularly expensive in countries like Australia and New Zealand. So to start with, we have split our printing—some is carried out in the UK, and some in the USA to mitigate some of these prohibitive transportation costs.

RR: Taking a look at the premier issue, what notes did you want to hit to set the tone for the series?

FS: Truly global, fresh and interesting articles with a real quality feel, and loads and loads of content. All 116 pages of issue No. 1 are available for everyone to see online here: http://www.epubxmag.com/t/137003

RR: The contributors and featured athletes include some very impressive and well-known names in the rowing world—how did you go about building such a talented pool of writers from the outset?

FS: The truth is, it was not difficult. We just identified whom we wanted to write for us, and approached them! People in the rowing community are very approachable and enthusiastic about things which benefit the sport.

RR: For those who want to subscribe, what are the best ways to learn more and get in touch with Row360?

FS: Our website at www.row-360.com is now live, and there you can find more information on how to subscribe. Any story ideas or feedback can go to editorial@row-360.com, or my email address is fergus@row-360.com. To get in touch on Twitter, follow us at @row360, or find us on Facebook.

Thanks very much to Fergus for taking the time to do the interview! Having launched the magazine in the U.S. at USRowing Club Nationals, Scholes is now in St. Catharines, Ontario at the 132nd Royal Canadian Henley Regatta. You can read a review of the first issue by our friends at Hear the Boat Sing here.


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