Eat, sleep, row, repeat - HMS Victorious crew row for charity

Clyde-based submariners on board HMS Victorious have raised over £1,300 for charity during a recent patrol.

Lieutenant Callum Fraser and Petty Officer Engineering Technician (Marine Engineer) Lee Benzie set themselves the goal of rowing a marathon – a total of 42,195 metres, with the added challenge of completing the distance in under three and a half hours.

As if the distance wasn’t challenging enough, the pair had the added difficulty of training and completing it whilst deployed on a Vanguard Class Submarine making their dedication and achievement all the more exceptional.

Speaking about the challenge, Petty Officer Benzie said, “This was a real achievement, something I’ve never done before and the money raised was worth the sweat and hard work.”

Finding the space to train on a submarine is tricky, with gym equipment being squeezed into tight spaces and surrounded by domestic equipment, dry waste and auxiliary machinery.

Getting to visit Fountains Primary School as part of the affiliates visit last summer was a pleasure. The school caters for children requiring varied levels of support and care and completing this row was the least we could do to show our continued support

Lieutenant Callum Fraser, HMS Victorious

Time, is also at a premium on board, with most of the ship’s company split into watches. This means working a six-hours on, six-hours off routine.

The ‘six-off’ portion equates to time to catch up on paperwork, eating ‘scran’, getting some sleep and squeezing in some exercise if you can.

On top of all that, submarines are designed to be stealthy, so at times gym equipment is out of use to cut down the noise on board and so reduce the risk of being detected.

These unplanned interruptions coupled with management meetings, training serials and the regular battle rhythm, can significantly impact on training opportunities.

Despite the many obstacles, the dedicated pair met and surpassed the challenge, completing the row in 3:04:25 and 3:12:45, raising £1,300 for their chosen charities.

Through this and other charity events, the crew of HMS Victorious raised over £1,800 for Parklands School in Helensburgh and Fountains Primary School in Burton upon Trent.

Lieutenant Fraser said, “Getting to visit Fountains Primary School as part of the affiliates visit last summer was a pleasure. The school caters for children requiring varied levels of support and care and completing this row was the least we could do to show our continued support.”

HMS Victorious returned recently from her 38th Patrol in support of the United Kingdom’s commitment to Continuous-At-Sea-Deterrence (CASD).