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Four soldiers from Harrogate prepare for the Atlantic

Four soldiers from Harrogate prepare for the Atlantic

Published by May Norman at 7:20am 7th November 2019.

Harrogate team to row across the Atlantic Ocean

  • Four men from the Army Foundation College in Harrogate will undergo the ultimate test of physical and mental endurance next month.
  • Chris Hames, Kian Helm, Rich Hall and Alex Walsh - known as the Force Atlantic team - will be rowing across the Atlantic in a 3,000 nautical mile journey.
  • The group are raising money for the ABF, the Soldier's Charity.

Four soldiers from the Army Foundation College (AFC) in Harrogate will undergo the ultimate test of physical and mental endurance.

The Force Atlantic crew will attempt a 3,000 nautical mile crossing of the Atlantic Ocean to raise vital funds for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity in our 75th anniversary year.

The crew is made up of Captain Chris Hames, Private Kian Helm, Lieutenant Colonel Rich Hall and Captain Alex Walsh.


Force Atlantic - Talisker


Regularly dubbed ‘the world’s toughest row’, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is an annual ocean rowing race.

Around 40 teams from around the world will attempt the voyage, following the ancient trade routes from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Nelson’s Harbour, Antigua.

Of those, the fastest crews will finish in just five weeks – although 100 days at sea is not unusual. More people have climbed Everest than completed a crossing of the Atlantic by rowing boat.


Force Atlantic - Talisker


The Force Atlantic crew will row in a nine metre by two metre vessel alongside three officers over approximately six weeks. 

They must consume 5,000 calories a day and row in shifts, with two on the oars while the other pair rest every two hours.

Crew member, Kian Helm is just 18-year-old and is bidding to become the third youngest person to row the Atlantic Ocean.

Kian - who has just completed basic training - is the youngest competitor in this year’s race with 40 other teams expected to take part.

He said:

“I’ve never done a 40-day period away from home before but my family has been really supportive.

“My mum was uneasy at first but that’s just natural - she has come around to the idea now.

"We just want to get started now and get out on the water. 

“All the work we have put in is starting to come together."


Force Atlantic - Talisker


Force Atlantic are hoping to raise an incredible £100,000 for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, to support our work with the Army family.

Established in 1998, the AFC provides basic training to the Army’s youngest enlisted trainees and represents the most comprehensive soldier basic training system in the world.

The crew said:

“All of us in the team are passionate because we see the transformational effect the College has on the lives of some of the UK’s most disaffected and disadvantaged teenagers; many from broken homes, failed by their schools and disengaged from training, education and employment.

With us, they find their first successes, their self-belief and go on to achieve some amazing things.”

Force Atlantic will fly across to Canary Islands on 1 December, 2019 - with the race starting on 12 December.

The four man crew are attempting to complete the race in 40 days which takes them to 20 January, 2020.

If the team come in before the 23 January 2020, then Kian will become the world record holder for the fastest teenager to row across the Atlantic.


Force Atlantic - Talisker


To donate to Force Atlantic, visit their website or JustGiving page.

The crew will be posting regular updates of their training throughout 2019 on their website. Click here to follow their progress.