Cumbria Crack

Wood sponsors Royal Navy team in world’s toughest rowing race

HMS Oardacious when it visited Birchwood Park are L-R: Rear Admiral Keith Beckett, Director Submarines Support at the Submarine Delivery Agency; Clive White, President of Wood Nuclear; and Lieutenants Callum Fraser and Hugo Mitchell-Heggs.

Wood is sponsoring a Royal Navy team that plans to row the Atlantic Ocean to raise money for mental health charities.

Four submariners and their boat – HMS Oardacious – are taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, which is reckoned to be the world’s toughest rowing race.

Starting in December, they will make a 3,000-mile, month-long unsupported crossing from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean.

Clive White, President of Wood Nuclear, said: “We admire the courage and commitment of the HMS Oardacious team and we are proud to sponsor them.

“Wood has supported the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines since the first boat was designed in 1958. Many of our colleagues who do this work are themselves former members of the Royal Navy and in many ways we feel like an extended part of Royal Navy team.   We share many of the same values with the Navy – those of care, courage and commitment.”

Team leader Lieutenant Hugo Mitchell-Heggs said: “Our culture as submariners seems like the perfect preparation for the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, but we wouldn’t be able to take part in the race without the support of Wood and our other sponsors.”

The team, which also includes Lieutenant Callum Fraser, Petty Officer Dylan Woods and Able Rate Matty Harvey, aims to be first across the finish line in Antigua’s Nelson’s Dockyard and hopes to raise more than £100,000 to provide mental health and wellbeing support for submariners and their dependents, in collaboration with the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.

Rowing for two hours and then sleeping for two hours, 24 hours a day, the team will get through 1.5 million oar strokes, coping with waves up to 20ft high. Each rower will burn more than 5,000 calories per day and lose an average of 15kg during the crossing.

Wood’s nuclear business employs more than 1,300 people in the North West of England, mainly at Knutsford and Birchwood in Cheshire and at Sellafield and Whitehaven in Cumbria.