THE Royal Navy submariners who won the world's toughest rowing race across the Atlantic have shared their joy at the remarkable achievement

Commander Mike Forrester MBE – who lives in Garelochhead – and Lieutenant Rob Clarke, who lives in Glasgow, undertook their most enduring physical challenge after intense training sessions on waters including the River Clyde.

The pair, along with marine engineer Petty Officer Ian Allen, Commander Dan Seager and Commander Matt Main, arrived in their boat, Captain Jim, at English Harbour in Antigua, on Wednesday, January 17 having left the Canary Islands on December 13.

The team of five, known collectively as HMS Oardacious, raced 3,000 miles across the Atlantic beating 36 teams to the finish line in 35 days, four hours and 30 minutes.

The submariners have rowed in shifts of two and a half hours on the oars, followed by 90 minutes’ rest in the tiny cabins at each end of the boat.

Helensburgh Advertiser: After 35 days the team proved to be winnersAfter 35 days the team proved to be winners (Image: Royal Navy)

Captain Jim’s skipper, Commander Matt Main, said the race had been “tough, really, really tough”.

“It’s a really long way – and I don’t recommend rowing it," he said. "Try flying it, or perhaps cruising.

“We had some beautiful times – in the moonlight, racing through the night on big waves, great fun. But there were also lows, some awful crosswinds when you felt you were making no progress – sometimes it felt like it would never end.

“But overall, it’s been a brilliant experience. It’s demanded a lot of love – and tolerance at times – but these four men are amazing. We made a real bond.”

This is the third time a team of submariners has taken on the World’s Toughest Row under the banner of HMS Oardacious.

The Advertiser first reported on the 'Oardacious' challenge back in 2020, when Lieutenant Hugo Mitchell-Heggs, Lieutenant Callum Fraser, Petty Officer Dylan Woods and Leading Engineer Technician Matt Harvey, became the fastest ever serving military team to complete the journey from La Gomera to Antigua.

The HMS Oardacious Fund, which exists and collaborates with The Submarine Family, The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, Submariner Memorial Appeal and Help Jim’s Story charities, aims to promote mental health awareness among submariners and their families during their course of duty.

The rowers had the backing of HRH The Prince of Wales, the honorary head of the Submarine Service – and Captain Jim’s team have raised about £70,000 for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.

Their next formidable team to take on this unforgiving challenge will be an all-female team in December 2024.

For more information about upcoming challenges visit