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Tom Rainey and crewmate Lawrence Walters set off from New York for Devon

Learn more about Tom’s epic row at



ROWED: 4,300 miles OAR

STROKES: 2.4 million



5 questions for... Tom Rainey, Atlantic rower

With his friend Lawrence Walters, 24-year-old Tom Rainey set off to row the Atlantic to raise money for the Brain Tumour Charity, in memory of his father. Three months and 4,300 miles later he finally made it, breaking four records in the process...

Did you do anything differently to break so

many world records? Lawrence and I got on incredibly well. We researched it for years and the biggest successes were always down to teams keeping up morale. We knew that as long as we kept morale high and worked together as a team, we would make it. If one of us was a bit down, we would pick the other one up.

Did your background in

sailing help to prepare you? Yes, good seamanship skills helped massively. We’ve both sailed all our lives, and have a good understanding of the ocean. I rowed at university, where I studied Ocean Exploration. I just like to be on the water. White-water kayaking is my absolute favourite thing to do, but sailing helped the most, like keeping a tidy boat, tying stuff

down, knots and lashings, packing, looking after electronics, repairs, navigation, meteorology – understanding leeway, waves and winds – those things become instinctive. You know if a low pressure is coming just from the way the wind is changing. Whatever hit us we were always prepared – you can’t get complacent when it comes to the sea.

Did you ever get bored? At the beginning it was just exciting. But in the middle part it got a bit boring – we still had to be energetic but we were bored with the endless rowing, alternating two hours on, two hours off. So we would tidy the boat up; we never let anything get messy. And that meant that if a storm hit us unawares we would always be prepared. We had speakers powered by solar panels so we would listen to Rudimental to keep us going! Coldplay was good for sunsets. Then in the last third we hit a tiredness wall and were just trying to keep awake!

Would you do it again if you

knew how hard it was? I can’t really remember the bad bits. But there were Arctic winds, currents spinning everywhere, huge storms – we were constantly wearing lots of layers because it was freezing. We’re one of only 20 boats to have ever done the Northern route, because it’s much more of a challenge than the Southern route. But I would still do it again!

What’s next for you? I’ve gone back to work on an offshore oil rig, but I’d like to join the Royal Marines. This adventure has sparked my appetite for a challenge. Eventually I want to join the SBS (Special Boat Service). I also want to inspire others to just get out there and have more adventures, especially young people. There is so much out there. Just pack a rucksack and walk the coast. To do something like rowing across the Atlantic, you just need to believe you will make it.

Tom (left) with his crewmate Lawrence, after they got home

“We knew if we kept morale high and worked together as a team then we would make it”

Win an offshore voyage!

Entries for the Royal Navy’s Peregrine Trophy photography competition are now open! If there’s a parade, voyage or any other event coming up at your unit, encourage cadets to get snapping and one of them could win an offshore voyage and Sea Cadets vouchers for their unit to spend.

Go to to learn more. FIND US ON



Visiting cadets from Canada enjoy learning the ropes on Royalist

The crew get a visitor, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope (at the helm)

4 (including being the youngest team

to complete the trip, and covering the

greatest distance in 24 hours – 129 miles)



WIND SPEEDS: 70mph hurricanes


Turtles, sharks, whales and dolphins

In full sail off the coast of Spain after setting off on its maiden voyage

Setting sail for the Solent on one of TS Royalist’s first voyages

Royalist takes to the waves

Cadets and volunteers share their photos from TS Royalist’s first season!


These pirate cadets still found time to earn their offshore qualifications

Up the rigging and out on the yardarm for the first time!

The crew is treated to a sunset while sailing from Plymouth to Brixham

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