Royal Navy submariners win 3000 mile world’s toughest rowing race

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Five Royal Navy Submariners, HMS OARDACIOUS, are the ‘Overall Winners’ of the World’s Toughest Row 2023 in a time of 35 days, 4 hours and 30 minutes.

Five Royal Navy submariners have won the world’s toughest rowing race across the Atlantic taking 35 days, four hours and 30 minutes.

The British servicemen travelled 3000 miles in their boat Captain Jim and arrived at English Harbour in Antigua, just before 1pm on Wednesday having left the Canary Islands on December 13th.

With 38 teams taking part from 16 countries, the British team consisting of Matt Main, Dan Seager, Rob Clarke, Ian Allen and Mike Forrester MBE rowed into English Harbour on Wednesday 17th January, at 08:45 local Antiguan time.

Race CEO Carsten Heron Olsen dedicated the race in memory of Alasdair Putt who passed away at sea during the challenge.

Covering a staggering 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, the British team completed the journey in 35 days, four hours, and 30 minutes having set sail from the Canary Islands last month and arrived to family and friends waiting for them at English Harbour, Antigua, on Wednesday.

Five Royal Navy Submariners, HMS OARDACIOUS, are the ‘Overall Winners’ of the World’s Toughest Row 2023 in a time of 35 days, 4 hours and 30 minutes. With 38 teams taking part from 16 countries, Matt Main, Dan Seager, Rob Clarke, Ian Allen and Mike Forrester MBE rowed into English Harbour on Wednesday 17th January, at 08:45 local Antiguan time.

The team made landfall with a huge crowd waiting for them at Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua. When asked about their experience on the Atlantic, skipper Matt said it was “an amazing experience. We had challenging conditions with headwinds and big waves but that worked well for us as a five man team and low times were overshadowed by rowing in the moonlight and clear skies. I can’t believe it’s over – it seemed like it would never end!”

The five Royal Navy Submariners maintained an impressive lead throughout the entire race. Through challenging weather conditions and rogue waves, their team work and relentless positivity echoed in every stroke of their oars. Mike said: “You can’t fight it, you get knocked down, you get hit again and again but you need to get back up, get your head together and pull yourself together with the team – and we did”.

The World’s toughest row, and the premier event in Ocean Rowing is an annual race which begins in December and brings together teams from all walks of life united by the same objective: to take on the unique challenge of crossing an ocean in a rowing boat.

Teams battle with sleep deprivation, salt sores, and physical extremes inflicted by the race. Rowers are left with their own thoughts, an expanse of the ocean and the job of getting the boat safely to the other side.

Skipper Matt joked: “It’s a really long way and I don’t recommend rowing it. Try flying it, or perhaps cruising.”

Matt’s other team members were marine engineer officer Commander Dan Seager, 38, from Chester, Commander Mike Forrester MBE, 40, from Edinburgh, medical services officer Lieutenant Rob Clarke, 37, from Hampshire and Petty Officer Ian Allen, 39, a nuclear reactor operator from Kent.

Each member of the team experienced significant physical strain during the race, including burning around 5,000 calories daily. They battled against salt sores, blisters, and seasickness, amidst waves reaching up to 19ft. But they are keen to point out their campaign has always been about more than rowing oceans as they continue to champion and fundraise for the wellbeing, mental health of all Royal Navy personnel, serving and retired, and their families.

HMS Oardacious has also made substantial contributions to charity raising £70,000 for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity which will fund mental health, wellbeing, and resilience projects within the submarine community.

Find out more at www.worldstoughestrow.com

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