The Prince of Wales joins members of the HMS Oardacious for a rowing trip at Dorney Lake in a new video
HMS Oardacious, which sees crews of submariners take part in challenges to row across the Atlantic, was established in 2019 and raises funds to support the wellbeing, mental health and welfare of all submariners, both those who have served and are retired, and their families.
Appearing at Dorney Lake in Buckinghamshire, William — who serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Submarine Service — meets with Lieutenant Commander Hugo Mitchell-Heggs and his team, who are planning to cross the Atlantic in a new eco-friendly boat this December.
After getting to know the group, the father of three is asked if he's ready to take part in a row along the lake, to which he playfully tells the crew, "The likelihood of me slapping somebody else's oar is more likely that it's going to happen."
Following the boating excursion, the group returns to Eton College's Rowing Centre, where William asks the team how they deal with the stresses that come with their jobs.
"We focus so much on our physical health but actually, acknowledging that psychological health is the same [is important]," Mitchell-Heggs says. "Everyone gets anxiety to various degrees. If you engage with it and have things in your back pocket to address those things one by one, you're in a much better position to [show] your potential."
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With the Prince of Wales noting that "you have to have a certain mentality to do your job," Mitchell-Heggs continues, "You're in a metal tube for months on end. Lots of your life's pleasures are away, you don't have sunlight or fresh air. You go from being a civilian to this whole new world where you're working with shipmates and a whole new dynamic."
William then speaks from his own experience and adds, "Understanding our support networks is crucial because a lot of people don't have those support networks. I think in the military, we're very good at forming close bonds and realizing the only way we're going to get through all this is by helping each other."
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Back in January 2020, four serving Royal Navy submariners became the fastest military team in history to row across any ocean, according to a press release from Kensington Palace.
At the time, the group spent 37 days, 6 hours and 40 minutes traveling across the North Atlantic to reach Antigua as part of the annual Atlantic Challenge, which the release states is considered "the premier, and toughest, event in ocean rowing."
The team, which later entered a crew in 2022, also has a group ready for 2023, 2024 and more. The teams so far have fundraised over $136,000 in support of mental health charity initiatives.
"Understanding our support networks is crucial because a lot of people don't have those support networks and being able to form close bonds and realize that the only way we are going to get through all of this is to support each other and pull each other through," William said in the release.
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