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Rowing submariners set to cross the Atlantic

L-R: (Leading Engineering Technician) Matthew ‘Matty’ Harvey, (Petty Officer) Dylan Woods, (Lieutenant) Hugo Mitchell-Heggs, (Lieutenant) Callum Fraser

It’s billed as the world’s toughest rowing race – over 3000-miles unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean – and a crew supported by BAE Systems Submarines is set to embark on the crossing later this year.

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge sees teams leave the Canary Islands in December and aim to reach Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua. How long the crossing takes depends on the weather; it could take anywhere between 30 and 50 days.

Four serving submariners – Lieutenant Hugo Mitchell-Heggs, Lieutenant Callum Fraser, Petty Officer Dylan Woods and Engineering Technician Matthew Harvey have formed a team named HMS Oardacious. The team aims to raise over £100,000 for the Royal Navy and Royal Marine Charity

Lt Mitchell-Heggs said: “We’d always thought this kind of feat was out of our range; as normal people we just didn’t think we’d be able to afford to take part. However, thanks to the generosity of sponsors such as BAE Systems Submarines it’s a challenge that is within our reach.”

The submariners say they are keen to mark the fact they are taking part during the 50th anniversary year of the UK’s Continuous at Sea Deterrent (CASD). Since April 1969 there has always been a Royal Navy submarine at sea, providing the UK’s deterrent. Today, this is delivered by the Vanguard class, which was designed and built at BAE Systems’ site in Barrow. This will be progressively replaced from early 2030s by the Dreadnought class, which BAE Systems is now designing and building.

The team is now heavily engaged in training and post regular updates to their social media accounts to demonstrate their workout regime. They’ll also be taking part in Cowes Week and the Dartmouth Regatta.

Neil Doherty, BAE Systems Submarines’ Corporate Social Responsibility Management Advisor, said: “We have long-standing links to the Royal Navy submarine service so we’re proud to support an endeavour which will pitch the team against the might of the Atlantic. We wish them the best of luck and look forward to charting their progress and then welcoming them home.”

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