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Atlantic Guardsmen 2022

In December 2022, the 1st Battalion Scots Guards are sending a four-man team as a British Army official team to take on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, without a doubt the world’s toughest rowing race. The Atlantic Guardsmen team are all serving members of the Scots Guards and have come together based on their aspiration to be challenged and to demonstrate that the physical training, teambuilding environment, confidence, and experiences afforded to those in the British Army are second to none. A strong team bond, sense of humour and clear understanding of the mission will be pivotal as they embark on one of the ultimate tests of physical and mental fortitude: rowing across the Atlantic Ocean.

The Atlantic Guardsmen Crew.
Left-to-right: Guardsman Farnworth, Lieutenant Lawrence, Warrant Officer Class 2 Botes, and Lance Sergeant Tate

The annual race begins in early December, with up to 30 teams participating from around the world. It is a non-stop 3000-mile voyage in a 8.5m long rowing boat from the start point in La Gomera, Canary Islands (28oN 18oW) to the finish point in English Harbour, Antigua (17oN 61oW). The Atlantic Guardsmen team will attempt to complete the event in around 35 days, on a punishing shift pattern: working in pairs, 2 hours on, 2 hours off, day and night, 7 days a week. Throughout the race, the Atlantic Guardsmen team will battle with sleep deprivation, 30+ foot waves, salt sores and physical extremes inflicted by the task at hand. The team will be left with their own thoughts, an expanse of ocean, and the job of getting the boat safely to the other side. Whilst not experienced ocean rowers, as Scots Guardsmen the team are no stranger to many of the challenges rowing the Atlantic will throw at them: austere living conditions, sleep deprivation, physical exhaustion, and the joys of eating rations, are all in a day’s work for infantry soldiers.

HRH The Duke of Kent meets some of the crew on
a visit to the 1st Battalion Scots Guards at
Somme Barracks, Catterick Garrison

The team relish the challenge of pushing themselves physically and mentally, however this year there is a deeper connection to the event. The team are rowing on the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War, a conflict close to the hearts of all Scots Guardsmen, and particularly the team’s Skipper, Lieutenant Max Lawrence, whose father, Robert Lawrence MC, took part in the fighting at the Battle of Mount Tumbledown and was severely wounded. Rowing on the 40th anniversary, the team aim to commemorate the sacrifices made by all those who served in 1982 and raise as much money as possible in support of The Scots Guards Charity and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.

As with most challenges, the real difficulty comes in the planning and preparation. The financial costs are high, and the team now requires support from any generous sponsors who can provide money, equipment, or services, and would value having their name associated with this project. If you would like to support the team or know anyone who would, then please check out their website and follow their journey at www.atlanticguardsmen.com.

Max Lawrence



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