The challenge

Five friends (four of whom have military experience) joined forces to create Team Essence and take on one of the the most physically challenging adventures of all time.

Setting sail from Lagos, Portugal to reach the touch point of Macuro, Venezuela, and achieve the continent to continent crossing, Team Essence rowed 24/7, eating and sleeping in a boat that measured just 8.5 metres (27.8 feet) x 1.2 metres (3.9 feet).

Their chosen route was by far the hardest crossing, covering vast swathes of the mid Atlantic, and was nearly 500 nautical miles further than the more popular route of the Canary Islands to Antigua.

Not only did the men beat the current world record of 52 days by completing the journey in 50 days, they also raised funds for the UK children’s charity NSPCC.

Team Essence Atlantic Crossing World Record AttemptAnd she’s in! 7 years in the planning ‘Ellida’ is finally in the water, fully loaded and ready for the final prep. Her and the team are looking good. Team Essence will be leaving within the next 7 days.

Posted by Team Essence – The Rogues of Ocean Rowing on Tuesday, 2 February 2016


Communications – made possible by Inmarsat

Inmarsat showed its support by providing Team Essence with the all-important connectivity they needed to stay safe and in touch throughout the dangerous challenge, as well as share their adventure with fans worldwide on social media, including astronaut Tim Peake.

Real-time tracking map
Click to see real-time tracking

The most connected rowing boat to ever cross the Atlantic was kitted out with our IsatData Pro machine-to-machine (M2M) communication service, to track and monitor the boat’s progress, sending back positional data to a tracking map, provided by CPN Satellite Services, in real-time every 20 minutes.

Not only did it allow friends, family and supporters to see whether they were on course to set the new world record, it also officially certified the crossing time.

Calling home from the middle of the ocean

We also provided two IsatPhone 2 mobile satellite phones for reliable voice communications – even from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

One phone was switched on at all times and the other stowed in the boat’s grab bag in case of an emergency. Some of the phone’s many features include an emergency assistance button as well as a tracking option, providing a back-up for the IsatData Pro service.

The phone also provided a great morale boost for the men who could call home and speak to loved ones whenever they had a chance, as they battled with the exhaustion, highs and lows of the challenge.

Finally, they had a BGAN Explorer 510 terminal for reliable data connectivity. This allowed Team Essence to keep supporters updated in real-time on their Facebook and Twitter pages with posts, photos, videos and blogs of their incredible adventure.

Meet Team Essence

The five men that took on the real Atlantic row were:

Matthew Bennett Matthew Bennett (37): This has been a dream of Matthew’s for seven years, he has funded the whole challenge so that all money raised can go to the NSPCC. He has worked in the Military Police, as a security contractor in Iraq, and for the London and Monaco financial markets. Most recently he has set up a unique sports and activity home for children in care.
Oliver Bailey Oliver Bailey (39): Previously working as head of security for some of London’s famous music venues, Oliver now has a career in finance and has recently founded an agri-technology project.
Jason Fox Jason Fox (39): Former Royal Marine and Special Boat Service (SBS) soldier, Jason left the Special Forces in 2012 to set up a company supporting veterans suffering PTSD and is also a security consultant. Most recently fans will have seen him in the UK’s Channel 4 TV programme SAS: who dares wins.
Aldo Kane Aldo Kane (38): Former Royal Marine Commando and one of the youngest snipers in the UK Armed Forces. Today Aldo provides safety services for some of the world’s largest TV and film productions.
Ross Johnson Ross Johnson (37): Former Royal Marine Commando and also one of the youngest people to have passed sniper training at just 18. Following service in Afghanistan and Iraq, he left the forces for a career in investment banking. Now he owns his own Cross Fit Gym in Canterbury.