Team taking on gruelling 3,000 mile row across Atlantic

The HMS Oardacious team including Dylan Woods, second from right.  Copyright Ben Duffy photogrpahy.
The HMS Oardacious team including Dylan Woods, second from right. Copyright Ben Duffy photogrpahy.

A Co Antrim man is part of a team of four British submariners taking on a gruelling 3,000 row across the Atlantic.

Petty Officer Dylan Woods, from Whitehead, joins crew mates Lieutenant Hugo Mitchell-Heggs from Sheffield, Lieutenant Callum Fraser from Basingstoke, and Leading Engineer Technician Matt Harvey from Kirkaldy to form HMS Oardacious.

Petty Officer Dylan Woods, from Whitehead.  INCT 490724-CON

Petty Officer Dylan Woods, from Whitehead. INCT 490724-CON

They are among 35 teams to take on what is being called the ‘world’s toughest row’, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

The race is set to take between 20-40 days, with participants setting off last Thursday in an unsupported row from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua.

The four Royal Navy submariners hope to be the first to cross the finish line, aiming to raise over £100,000 for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity in the process.

Whitehead man Dylan, who has been in the Navy for 10 years, is a Marine Engineer on the Astute class submarines.

The team at the starting line in La Gomera.  Picture credit: GRM

The team at the starting line in La Gomera. Picture credit: GRM

Although the last decade has taken the 28-year-old all over the world, the chance to take on the might of the Atlantic Ocean was too tempting to pass up. “The very thought of it is audacious (hence the pun) - a truly monumental challenge, a truly life changing opportunity. An opportunity that I knew I would never get again,” Dylan said.

The team are expected to tackle 20-foot waves on their journey, rowing for two hours, and sleeping for two hours, 24 hours a day – losing an average of 12kg.

Dylan’s grandmother, Sylvia Woods, was present as he set off from La Gomera last week. “We are so so proud of the boys; they are a great team and I have been told to prepare their bangers and mash on their return,” she said.

Also lending their support to the team was Whitehead Coastal Rowing Club, who said: “[We] wish Dylan Woods and the crew of HMS Oardacious fair winds and calm seas as they row across the Atlantic Ocean . Probably the first Whiteheader to attempt this feat, Dylan has a wealth of inspired supporters in the town and beyond.”

Dylan says goodbye to family members at the starting line.  Picture credit: GRM

Dylan says goodbye to family members at the starting line. Picture credit: GRM

To support the boys in their courageous venture, text ‘NAVY OAR’ to 70500 to donate £5 to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.

Saying goodbye at La Gomera.  Picture credit: GRM

Saying goodbye at La Gomera. Picture credit: GRM

On the open water.  INCT 49-730-CON

On the open water. INCT 49-730-CON