What drives people from different backgrounds and from all over the world to spend months preparing themselves mentally and physical to voluntarily enter one of the most gruelling races in the world? Separated from family and friends, teams gather in December in La Gomera, Spain to enter the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, regarded as ‘the world’s toughest row’, a 3000+ mile rowing race across the Atlantic Ocean, taking on average between 35 to 96 days to complete.
Crews will battle sleep deprivation, exhaustion, salt sores, treacherous waves, hunger and encounter sea creatures in their quest to complete the course and ideally be the first boat arriving in Antigua. It is worth noting that more people have climbed Mount Everest than rowed an ocean. Crews pushed off on 12 December, and we will be following the race (you can download an app: “YB RACES” and use TALISKER 2022 to track the race and crew) and keeping in touch with the HMS OARDACIOUS crew who will be dealing with the isolation, and personal challenges while working as a close team.
All 43 crews are not only working to achieve personal and team ambitions, but equally to raise money for their chosen charities and drive awareness for causes close to their hearts.
For NSSLGlobal’s sponsored team, HMS OARDACIOUS, this means raising awareness and support for the wellbeing, mental health and welfare of all submariners, serving and retired, and their families. They will fundraise for their chosen charity, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC).
Having first sponsored the team in 2019, NSSLGlobal is proud to be back working with HMS OARDACIOUS on this year’s race, providing critical connectivity services, airtime, equipment and essential support as part of its Gold Sponsorship package. The team embody all that NSSLGIobaI supports especially through inspiring the next generation through their STEM education outreach programme and highlighting of environmental issues.
The HMS OARDACIOUS ethos
Lieutenant Commander Hugo Mitchell-Heggs, Lieutenant Commander Callum Fraser, (both rowing for a second time), Lieutenant Commander Tom Hutchinson and Petty Officer Jon Norfolk, are eager to win. Additionally, the team hopes to raise more funding and awareness for their chosen causes. All four of the rowers are serving Royal Navy submariners, with first-hand knowledge of the effects that prolonged isolation and a lack of communication can have.
The original team in 2019 finished the race in 37 days, the fastest time recorded by any military team, and raised over £100,000 in support of mental health initiatives. This year, they have their ambitions set on beating all previous goals. Having previously set the record for military teams they are looking to achieve the fastest time for any four-man team this year.
NSSLGlobal’s Gold Sponsorship support of the intrepid team of submariners
The Atlantic can be a harsh and dangerous environment and the teams will be rowing unaccompanied and often isolated from others for days and weeks, so resilient, reliable communications and support 24/7 support is invaluable. The vital services provided by NSSLGlobal will enable those onboard to keep in contact with their on-land support team and access daily essential meteorological reports which will assist them in planning their route across the Atlantic. The communications equipment will also allow the team to keep in contact with their families and friends over the course of the race, with calls scheduled every other day. This is a luxury not often granted to submariners, who often go for months without hearing word from home.
Many of the NSSLGlobal team come from a military background, so supporting the wellbeing of serving and retired personnel, as well as their families, is a cause close to our hearts. Some of the NSSLGlobal team were delighted to attend the Trafalgar Night Dinner held with the HMS OARDACIOUS team in the painted hall at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich to personally wish them well. NSSLGlobal is pleased to be supporting HMS OARDACIOUS once again as the rowers push themselves to their limit raising funds and awareness for this admirable cause.
Why not follow our own Neil Fraser’s (Director for Defence and Space) take on the race and the guys with his regular posts on LinkedIn?
Post: Guys are pushing off!
Post: 2 days into the race
Post: Progress after 7 days