Rowing the Atlantic for Mental Health

To The Race Start

Covering 3,000 miles from La Gomera to Antigua, this is the world’s toughest rowing race.

On the 12th December, 2020, Harry Hearn, Alex Soskin, Ed Batchelor and Tom Phillips, will test their endurance, spirit and friendship, as they pit themselves against the Atlantic Ocean in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Our Partners

The Challenge

The Oardacity crew will test the limit of their physical and mental strength; to achieve something unthinkable, rowing unaided, 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, from La Gomera, Canary Islands to the East, to Antigua, in the Caribbean to the West.

On the 12th December 2020, Harry, Alex, Ed and Tom, four adventurous friends, will embark on their challenge of a lifetime; The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge! Team Oardacity, will be rowing 2 hours on, 2 hours off in rotation, 24 hrs a day, with the ambition to break the current World Record of 29 days and 15hrs, in the world’s toughest rowing race across the world’s second largest ocean.

Ocean rowing is, as John Fairfax described, ‘a battle with nature, primitive and raw’.

"So difficult is the task, that more people have been into space or climbed Everest than have rowed the Atlantic."

Our Crew

Harry Hearn

Age: 34
Height: 6ft3
Location: London
Profession: Executive Search

Why are you doing the TWAC? From the moment I first talked about doing this two plus years ago, there were always three key reasons behind the madness!

Firstly, the mental challenge. It’s about putting our mental strength on the line; we will be hurting, suffering and hating but it’s all about keeping ourselves psychologically focused and strong enough on completing a job that needs to be done. Personally, I am hugely excited about testing myself mentally – taking negative energy, feelings and surrounds and using it positively to drive yourself forward!

Secondly, the comradery. Quite simply, it may sound cheesy, but it’s about forming a brotherhood; its being there for one another in the good times, but more importantly, the dark times. A form of loyalty and bond, that for me is unbreakable.

Lastly, it’s about giving back. I have been incredibly lucky to live an amazing life, albeit with ups and downs, but with amazing friends and family, I am where I am now. For MIND and the CNCF, two charities that are very close to me, it’s about giving people a chance in life. We aren’t trying to change the world, but if we can make just a small difference to someone’s life, then it’s a job well done. Dream to live, to live and then inspire!

Your Desert Island Disc? Bitter Sweet Sympathy, The Verve on the good days; The Commission, Breton to get me though the dark ones.

One luxury item? TBC, not sure if I’m going to take one, I don’t want it to distract me. ‘Everest’ the CNCF teddy, Alex and I took to EBC for the children will be coming with us – so he can be it.

What will you miss the most? My bed

Food you will crave? It’s not often I go through 48hrs without mayonnaise, so dreading the withdrawal symptoms. Also, fresh vegetables.

What are you most looking forward to? Everything about it. Even the dark and frightening times. Challenging myself more so than I ever have. Whatever happens, it’s going to be a life changing experience, I just can’t wait to get going!

What are you most apprehensive about? Seasickness and the unknown. We can plan and prepare as best we can, but we are quite literally, in the ‘lap of the gods!’

Your Christmas song? Carol of the bells

Alex Soskin

Age: 34
Height: 6ft2
Location: London
Profession: Chartered Surveyor

Why are you doing the TWAC?
Because Harry asked me every day for 6 months… and I eventually gave in!

From a personal perspective, I want to take myself out of my comfort zone to see how I am able to cope under extreme physical and mental conditions. I want to prove to myself and others what you are able to achieve when you put your mind to something. I have been on a few adventures but nothing quite like this!
I have seen first-hand the level of poverty the Vietnamese children face and the day to day struggle of those who directly suffer from mental health. As our chosen Charities, I want to grow the awareness of both who support these great causes and raise as much money as possible for them. The Charities work will no doubt inspire us all in our darkest moments in the race.

Your Desert Island Disc? Mr Brightside, Killers

What will you miss the most? Family and friends, and my own bed

Food you will crave? Anything fresh that doesn’t need water adding to it!

What are you most looking forward to? The whole experience of getting to the start line, the primitive nature of the row and having to work as a team throughout to reach our goals. Ultimately the achievement of reaching the finish line and that moment when we set foot in Antigua and are greeted by all our family and friends!

What are you most apprehensive about? Seasickness

Your Christmas song? Fairytale of New York, The Pogues

Ed Batchelor

Age: 32
Height: 6ft1
Location: London
Profession: Wealth Management

Why are you doing the TWAC?
Having always been a competitive sportsman I have always had the drive to win and the fear of losing. Rugby, running and horses have always been my main passions and I’ve competed at high levels in all of those sports until in 2009 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. This mainly affected my knees so that was sports over – or so I thought! Sport is such a high reliver of stress and helps immensely with mental health and physical health, especially when being sat at a desk all day. So, early in my working life I set out mini challenges which built up to taking part in a charity amateur boxing match for example. From this I realised that with the incredible support of the NHS and the determination not to give in to Arthritis, I would continue to push physical boundaries in my life in order to live the best, happiest and healthiest life I could – and ideally extend it!

With this in mind I thought what better opportunity to demonstrate this powerful thinking and inspire others in my situation, than to take on a seemingly impossible task for someone with my condition. Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge….. here we go!

Your Desert Island Disc? Favourite tune currently has to be Lewis Capaldi but you can't beat a bit of Phil Collins or on the other end of the spectrum… High Contrast!!

What will you miss the most? My Wife and baby

Food you will crave? Cheese, bacon, and mayonnaise

What are you most looking forward to? Putting myself out of my comfort zone and seeing how I react. Hopefully I can learn to control my own and others anxiety in order to push the limits of our challenge and compete at a high level

What are you most apprehensive about? The unkown!

Your Christmas song? All I want for Christmas is you!

Tom Phillips

Age: 33
Height: 5ft 11
Location: Norfolk
Profession: Chartered Surveyor

Why are you doing the TWAC?
It is the ultimate physical and mental test. It’s a challenge I have followed with great interest for years but never thought I would have the opportunity in life to be able to take part in it. To do it with three friends and fundraising for two fantastic charities, will make it a unique and special experience. I can’t wait to get to the start line!

Your Desert Island Disc? ‘I Will Wait’ – Mumford & Sons. It will get you motivated, rowing and singing whatever the mood.

One luxury item? Fishing rod.

What will you miss the most? My bed.

Food you will crave? Fresh fruit and vegetables I suspect but definitely a good fry up.

What are you most looking forward to? The camaraderie with the boys, the experience of it all and ultimately that finishing feeling!

What are you most apprehensive about? The Skipper’s sense of direction and the one bucket to share!

Your Christmas song? Twelve Days of Christmas.

Our Charities

Why are we doing this?

Team Oardacity will be rowing the Atlantic to raise money and awareness for two charities they are very strongly affiliated to. ‘MIND’ (Mental Health) and the ‘Christina Noble Children’s Foundation’ (an international NGO, dedicated to serving the world’s oppressed and marginalized children).

Partner Us

Join us as a Corporate Partner on this unique global challenge!

In order to reach the start line in La Gomera, we will need to raise in excess of £115,000 to purchase our boat, safety equipment, kit, race entry, food packs and complete our rigorous training.

For more information please email info@oardacity.com