Four intrepid submariners, who have been sponsored by BAE Systems in their quest to cross the Atlantic Ocean, have moved a step closer to achieving their aim.
The team – known as HMS Oardacious – has taken delivery of the boat which will be home for the duration of the crossing.
Lieutenant Hugo Mitchell-Heggs, Lieutenant Callum Fraser, Petty Officer Dylan Woods and Leading Hand Matthew Harvey, will row unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. On December 12th the team will pit their wits against scores of other competitors in racing more than 3,000 miles, from the Canary Islands to Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua.
Expedition leader Lieutenant Mitchell-Heggs said: “The boat really is our lifeline for the duration of the crossing, which could be anything from 30 to 50 days. We’ll eat, sleep and row on shifts throughout the crossing. As it gets nearer and nearer the scale of the enormity of the undertaking has really started to hit home.”
The boat is just 28 feet long and designed to self-right, should the worst happen, and has been specially designed to cope with the worst the Atlantic can hurl at it.
All four submariners are hoping to raise money for charity, including The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.
Neil Doherty, BAE Systems’ corporate social responsibility management advisor, said: “The handover of the boat is a real milestone for the challenge, which we’re delighted to support. In just a few months’ time the ‘oarsome foursome’ will set off on their adventure which we hope will make a real difference to many lives through the money we know they’ll raise. After many months of planning, not to mention getting fit for the grueling task of rowing unsupported across the Atlantic, we look forward to tracking their progress.”
Lieutenant Mitchell-Heggs added: “HMS Oardacious are proud to be representing the senior service as the first ever official Royal Navy team to row across the Atlantic Ocean and delighted to be raising funds for two wonderful charities that do so much for the maritime community.”
Commodore Bob Anstey MA Royal Navy, Assistant Chief of Staff Submarines, addressed guests prior to the unveiling, which took place next to HMS Victory in Portsmouth. The boat was blessed by Sailors’ Society Honorary Chaplain Rev Bill McCrea.
The team will be visiting Barrow in the autumn to speak to BAE Systems employees in advance of their challenge of a lifetime.