HMS Portland ‘Row the Suez’

HMS Portland recently embarked on a fitness challenge to raise money and awareness for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, as they raced against the clock to ‘Row the Suez’ whilst on transit after a successful operational deployment in the Middle East.

The challenge required 81 volunteers to row 2 km each on a rowing machine.  Portland’s ship’s company were up for the task and finding volunteers was easy.  A 2 km row at maximal effort is always a tough task, but made tougher when combined with 38 degree heat, high humidity and a target time of less than 8 minutes.

The Commanding Officer, Capt Paul Stroude, and Executive Officer, Lt Cdr Thom Hobbs, got the challenge underway, with both smashing the 8 minute target, completing in 7.46 and 7.30 respectively.

The fastest time of the day was Lance Corporal ‘Bosh’ Boshoff with 6.38, however 6 other members of ship’s company also completed in less than 7 minutes.  Regulating Petty Officer Scot Cantillon set the fastest time for the old boys (over 40’s) with a time of 7.23.

Portland’s ship’s company have shown today that they are Fit to Fight. Fitness is a key element of military effectiveness and my ship’s company take it very seriously.

Captain Paul Stroude

LPT Fraser Bricknell was the 81st and final person, to complete the row and was cheered over the imaginary line by the entire crew to set a total time of 10 hours, 22 minutes, and 18 seconds.  This far exceeded expectations, with an impressive average time of 7.40.

Fraser said “All onboard embraced the challenge even better than I anticipated; I was really impressed with how high the average fitness level is.  I feel the impressive time we achieved today displays the sporting and fitness mentality we have onboard HMS Portland. 

"I couldn’t be prouder of the effort given by everyone who took part, and it is nice to be able to give something back to RNRMC which has so generously supported our ship’s company.”

Captain Paul Stroude said “Portland’s ship’s company have shown today that they are Fit to Fight.  Fitness is a key element of military effectiveness and my ship’s company take it very seriously.  I am pleased that we raised yet more money for the RNRMC.”

The charity has previously supported HMS Portland in a part-fund of Adventurous Training for 80 members of the ship’s company in Abu Dhabi and money was received towards refurbishments in the Mess Decks and the entertainment systems.

The event raised over £150 and takes the amount raised through the deployment so far to over £500.