Meet Matt, Joel, Ian, and Dom; four former Royal Marines from 45 Commando who have completed tours together in Afghanistan. Dom, Ian, and Joel have since retired from active duty, but all four have continued to pursue their active lifestyles and love of the outdoors; completing challenges, such as Ultra-marathons; 30 Mile Commando Tests; the Lake District Relays; and recently taking on the hunters in Channel 4’s ‘Hunted’. Their success in these challenges is a testament to their extraordinarily disciplined state of mind and teamwork. These are habits that they wish to pass on to their children, with Joel adding that he hopes to be a role model to his daughter, with a wish that “she won’t fear stepping out of the comfort zone”.
So, for four men who can tackle some of the hardest conditions on Earth, what next? Well, the sea, of course! These men have been training tirelessly to tackle what has been dubbed the “World’s Most Dangerous Row”. The route across the North Atlantic Sea has been attempted a total of 72 times, with over 43 failures and 6 fatalities. None have rowed the 3,700 miles from The Brooklyn Bridge to Tower Bridge; Ocean Revival plan to be the first.
Whilst training, they have been fundraising for both Plastic Oceans UK and The Royal Marine Charity. So far, they have raised far over £46,000 and visited well over 15,000 school children, to teach them about the importance of our oceans and excite them into pursuing an active lifestyle.
We, Tamzin and Kavina, were lucky enough to be able to join them on a practice row from HMS President. I will be the first to admit that I do not have sea legs. The vessel sits incredibly close to the water and the challenge of rowing began simply trying to step in! Sixteen years of dance training and my mother would be shocked at my lack of balance. The boat itself is decked out with the most high-tech equipment from Navigator to Tracking, which leaves very little space for the actual sleeping quarters.
The boys plan to row in teams of two – with four hours on and four hours off, with nothing but the sea surrounding them. For 65 days. Sounds peaceful, doesn’t it? Matt very kindly offered us a chance to row ourselves. I fully leapt (cautiously, for fear of capsizing) at the opportunity to finally prove all along that I should never have been on the University rowing team. After a quick row under Tower Bridge in possibly the strangest commute to work, we docked and allowed the full team of four to show us how it was done, training up and down the Thames as their rowboat became a tiny speck against the backdrop of London’s HMS Belfast.
With the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, Ocean Revival are having to reschedule their row. Whilst originally due to take place this summer, they will be unable to travel to America and row across the Atlantic in the timeframe originally allocated. However, this is not the end of their endeavour. We are keeping in close contact with the team as they reshuffle their plans and will continue to update you on their progress.
As always, they continue to “Adapt, Improvise, and Overcome”.
We are so proud of all you have done to raise awareness and money, especially through activating the youth of today within schools to take up their own challenges and inspire their love of the outdoors. Once it is safe to do so, we cannot wait to continue to follow and support your journey.
To follow their progress, visit their website, here, or follow their Instagram, @oceanrevival2020.
~ Tamzin Kerslake – Business Support and Fundraising Champion