A Sortie to Sealand

The last few months have seen one major advancement for the FORCE ATLANTIC crew - the full time custody of their boat ‘Daphne’.

The guys wasted no time in taking advantage of this new freedom to train, with a 72 hour expedition from the River Crouch to the Principality of Sealand, and back. (For those readers unfamiliar with Sealand, it the world’s smallest micro-nation. A previously abandoned WW2 gun emplacement a few miles off of the Essex coast, which was claimed and restored by a benevolent band of ambitious businessmen, and is now home to a population of between 12-15 people.)

This expedition was the first time the crew had been able to put all of their talk about boat life, to practise. A full 2hr on, 2hr off routine was implemented, eating only the mandated freeze dried rations and supplementary energy bars; and very quickly the reality of the trans-Atlantic row set in. The fatigue of rowing against the harsh coastal elements, coupled with the inability to get sufficient rest, quickly dampened down the butterflies of excitement the crew had ahead of the expedition, as they battled up towards the Harwich coast. Being consistently wet, meant that the crews hands started to deteriorate. Blisters on fingers wrinkled with the pruney-ness of being in the bath too long (oh, what they would have paid to have been in a bubble bath on day 3!).

The elemental challenge however was met by a stoic and professional approach by the FORCE ATLANTIC boys. It quickly became evident that the crew’s shared military experience, and their background of arduous training would serve them well - the discipline of a service background undoubtedly gives FORCE ATLANTIC an edge over their civilian competitions in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Familiarity with routine in harsh environments, doing the right thing on the hard day, ‘as they ought, not as they want’, meant that the team took the brutal row with a grin, and some trademark dark humour! Crew member Captain Alex Walsh RL said, “There is no doubt about it, that row was tough. But to even have the opportunity to do [the 72hr trip], is a real privilege, and one most people would never come across...We’ve all realised, whether we like it or not, that adversity is a glue that will bring our crew together!”

Another piece of big news in the last few weeks has been the agreement of M2M2 (Made to Measure Mentoring Ltd.) to be the official Platinum Sponsor of FORCE ATLANTIC. As a part of their assistance with the challenge, M2M2 will be providing leadership mentoring, sports psychology sessions and physiological testing and tracking for the crew to keep the crew at their best.