THE first British Amy team to take on an Atlantic challenge have been preparing for their effort in Clacton.

Visitors to Clacton Pier got a chance to see the Force Atlantic Team practise for the prestigious Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, a 3,000 mile unsupported rowing race across the Atlantic.

The team, based at the Army Foundation College, Harrogate, took to the waters off Clacton for their first ocean going training session on Tuesday.

The skipper, Commanding Officer Lt Col Rich Hall, is supported by two training officers and an 18-year-old junior soldier, just out of basic training.

Renown as the world’s toughest row, the Talisker Atlantic Challenge is an annual race from the Canary Islands to Antigua with the fastest crews crossing inside six weeks with exposure, sea-sickness, sleep deprivation and exhaustion among the common hazards.

ABF The Soldiers Charity will be the recipient of the intended £100,000 fundraising target and Lt Col Hall is also keen to promote the benefits of military training among young people.

“This row is a unique challenge,” he said.

“That a recently graduated recruit is part of a team comprising the commanding officer, is typical of the level of ambition and camaraderie of the Army Foundation College.

“We hope to showcase not only the quality of young people who continue to join up, but also the transformative effect of military training, the resilience of recruits and the expectation of soldiers graduating from basic training.”

The team of serving soldiers also includes Chris Hames, Alex Walsh and Kian Helm.

The team said: “We are four serving soldiers, strangers to each other until united by a posting to the Army Foundation College.

“Through a shared desire for challenge and adventure, we have decided to embark on one of the ultimate tests of physical and mental fortitude – rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean.

“We have the privilege of becoming the first official British Army team to enter this event.

“Our sole charity is ABF The Soldiers’ Charity. This incredible organisation has a vision that all soldiers, veterans and their families should have the opportunity to avoid hardship and enjoy independence and dignity.”

The annual race begins in early December and there is expected to be 30 team participating from across the world.