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HMS Montrose rows the Atlantic one kilometre at a time

15 November 2018
The crew of HMS Montrose got stuck into their ‘three-quarters of the globe’ deployment by sweating on rowing machines for one of the Navy’s most keenly-contested trophies.

Typically sailors take to rowing machines as their vessels head south through Suez, hoping to beat the ship by completing the length of the canal faster than their ‘steed’ can cover the same distance.

Except that Montrose is heading to the Gulf the ‘wrong way’ around: via Panama and the Pacific. No Suez.

Instead, 62 of the frigate’s sailors used a ‘day off’ mid-Atlantic to attempt their rowing challenge, with the combined time of the fastest 50 athletes over one kilometre counting as Montrose’s contribution to the Montague Cup, presented every six months to the ship or submarine which posts the lowest total.

It was brilliant to see so many ship’s company take on the physical and mental challenge of the one-kilometre row

Leading Physical Trainer Cat Forrest.

In fine weather and calm seas, machines were set up on the frigate’s flight deck and crew gathered around to spur shipmates on.

Leading by example was the frigate’s Commanding Officer – and keen rower – Commander Conor O’Neill: “I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. My ship’s company demonstrated their individual fitness while collectively combining their times to enter as a team.”

The best time was clocked by Leading Engineering Technician Dan McNaughton, who covered 1,000 metres in 3m 9s, while the quickest woman on board was the frigate’s Leading Physical Trainer Cat Forrest.

She was delighted by her time, but especially by the performances put in by her shipmates.

“It was brilliant to see so many ship’s company take on the physical and mental challenge of the one-kilometre row,” Cat said.

“A successful afternoon of exercise and friendly competition was enjoyed by all.”

The fastest 50 Montrose rowers posted a competitive collective time of 2h 57m.

Their ship is continuing westwards towards the Gulf via the Caribbean, the Pacific Rim, Asia and the Indian Ocean.

Once in the Gulf, she will be based at the RN’s new facility in Bahrain, remaining there for up to three years, although the ship’s company will change every six or so months – a well-honed routine for British minehunters stationed in the region for similar periods.

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