The 5-man strong HMS Oardacious team has won the World’s Toughest Row – Atlantic 2023 and set a new military record in the process! Having departed from their starting point in San Sebastian, La Gomera, Canary Islands on 13 December 2023, the team reached land, and the finish line, in Nelsons Dockyard, Antigua on 17 January 2024 in an incredible 35 days 4 hrs and 30 mins!
The challenge saw the team of serving Royal Navy submariners complete the gruelling journey, in excess of 3000 miles, raising money for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC), HELP – Jim’s Story and The Submarine Family. All funds raised will go towards mental health and wellbeing support for submariners and their families.
Led by Skipper, Matt Main, together with team members Dan Seager, Rob Clarke, Ian Allen and Mike Forrester, they began their crossing as one of 37 teams taking part in the World’s Toughest Row. Their schedule was a relentless cycle of approximately 2.5hrs rowing and 1.5hrs of rest, although this rest time included eating and carrying out all administrative tasks, leaving less than an hour for actual sleep. With two rowers resting at any one time, there were consistently three of the team on the oars day and night.
Captain Jim, their Rannoch RX45 Ocean Rowing Boat, was named in memory of Captain James ‘Jim’ Simpson, a Marine Engineer Submariner who tragically took his own life in 2020. As a fund set up under the umbrella of the RNRMC, HELP – Jim’s Story aims to raise awareness and understanding around mental health.
Andrew Jameson, Chief Executive of RNRMC, sent this message to the team:
“Congratulations to the HMS Oardacious Team for their fantastic effort in getting to Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua, not only first but in record time for a military team! We have been thinking of you throughout your voyage, it’s a massive achievement and thank you so much for all the support that you are giving to the RNRMC.”
Following the success of this year’s team, we are looking forward with anticipation to following the journey of the all-female military rowing team’s Atlantic Challenge later this year.
Photo credit: Worlds toughest row