The team, who have named themselves “HMS Oardacious”, will be the first official Royal Navy team to participate in the 3,000-mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Picture by Royal Navy
By Gavin Carr
FOUR serving Submariners are gearing-up to face a remarkable challenge next month to raise money to provide mental health support to the submarine community.
The team, who have named themselves “HMS Oardacious”, will be the first official Royal Navy team to participate in the 3,000-mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Leaving from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on December 12, they are aiming to row, unaided, to Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua, arriving just over a month later.
More people have been into space or climbed Everest than have rowed across the Atlantic so it’s an epic endeavour by the Submariners.
“Our culture as Submariners seems like the perfect preparation for the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge,” explained Lt Hugo Mitchell-Heggs, Marine Engineering Officer and expedition leader.
“Whether it is knowing everything there is to know about our boat, looking out for our team mates, or managing watch systems – all while contending with sleep deprivation and dealing with the emotions of leaving our loved ones – we are focused on the task ahead. We are incredibly proud to represent the Royal Navy for the first time in this epic challenge in support of a fantastic charity and a project we truly believe in.”
The boat, “Oardacious”, is a 28ft fibreglass, self-righting Ranoch-45 Ocean rowing boat. Weighing just over one-tonne when empty, it has two six-foot cabins where the crew will rest in their off-watch. The team will be rowing unsupported, meaning they need to carry everything required to get across safely.
Monies raised by the challenge will be donated to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) to develop mental health support to the submarine community, looking after the well-being of serving personnel, veterans and their families. So far the team has raised just over £90,000 for the charity and are on track to meet their £100,000 target.
The crew – Hugo Mitchell-Heggs, Callum Fraser, Dylan Woods and Matty Harvey – will be in the Canaries in early December to carry out final boat checks and preparations before launching from San Sebastian de la Gomera on the 12th.
Follow the team’s progress or donate to their charity via their website: www.hmsoardacious.com or on social media – Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (@hmsoardacious). You can also text NAVY OAR to 70500 to donate £5 automatically to the RNRMC.