Team Forces is so proud to be a supporter of HMS OARDACIOUS  … especially as the 2023 team has just won the world’s toughest row – 3,000 miles from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua – in 35 days 4 hours 30 minutes!

They are the first of 37 teams over the finish line and with their win they also became the fastest military team on record to cover the gruelling distance beating their predecessors, the 2022 HMS Oardacious (4man) crew who crossed last year in 35 days 17hours 19minutes. They are the first five-man team to win this brutal race (the race is typically won by teams of four due to the weight advantage).

The families of skipper Commander Matt Main, 39, Commander Dan Seager, 38, both marine engineer officers, 37-year-old Lieutenant Rob Clarke, a medical services officer, marine engineer Petty Officer Ian Allen, aged 39, and 40-year-old Commander Mike Forrester MBE have flown out to Antigua to welcome the rowers after more than one month apart.

Their boat Captain Jim – named in memory of a former colleague (Captain Jim Simpson) who tragically took his own life in 2020 – left La Gomera in the Canaries on December 13, one of 37 craft in the race, some rowed by individuals, most by teams. The submariners have rowed in shifts of 2½ hours on the oars, followed by 90 minutes’ rest in the tiny cabins at each end of the boat.

They’ve burned through over 5,000 calories every day (the figure for the average adult is around 2,000 calories), all are suffering salt sores, blisters and sea sickness They’ve had to jump into the ocean en route to scrape barnacles from the hull – marine growth can slow the boat down by as much as half a knot, a massive drag when the men have been propelling Captain Jim through the Atlantic at speeds of around 3½ knots – and they’ve been battered by 20ft waves.

To maintain morale, the rowers have phone/internet links with both their families and the wider world, posting images, videos and – a surprise hit among followers – poetry to capture their feelings, prompted by involvement with the charity Never Such Innocence which encourages young people, particularly those from military families, to express themselves through the arts.

They have also inspired thousands of people through an enthralling social media feedback from the Atlantic ocean.

This is the third time a team of submariners has taken on the World’s Toughest Row under the banner of HMS Oardacious which raises funds for mental health, wellbeing and resilience projects in the submarine community. Captain Jim’s team have raised £15K alone since leaving the Canaries, contributing to over £80,000 now raised for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (