'Team Indian Ocean' take on mammoth row to collect environmental data for climate change analysis

Leading marine electronics manufacturer, welcome Raymarine is supporting a record-breaking attempt to row 3,100 miles across the Indian Ocean. Only 11 rowing boats have ever completed this crossing before.

As well as rowing against the clock, the team’s mission is to gather environmental data which will be used to help analyse the effects of climate change.

Tom Kelly, brothers Ollie and Ed Wells, and Captain James Kayll of the Light Dragoons, will leave Geraldton, Australia, for Mauritius on 17th April. The team, known as Team Indian Ocean, will take it in turns to row in gruelling two hour shifts for 24 hours a day, non-stop, to propel their craft across the ocean.

Their specially built capsule rowing boat has been fitted with sensors designed to gather valuable marine data which will be fed in real-time back to the National Oceanographic Centre in Southampton. Due to the vessel’s draft, it is able to navigate through very shallow waters.

The data collected will give analysts a unique insight into changing salt levels, acidity and temperatures across the Indian Ocean, in particular off the coastline of Mauritius.

On board the vessel, Raymarine has supplied a combination of ST40 and ST60+ instruments, which give depth and speed readings which can be read at a glance from the rowing position in the cockpit. This will constantly update the team with the vital information they need to ensure safe passage at all times.

Also onboard will be a Raymarine ST2000 autopilot, which will enable the boat to steer automatically to a specified course.

Team member, Ollie Wells, says; “Our Raymarine autopilot is a vital piece of equipment for us, and we will rely on it throughout the challenge to keep us on the right course. Although we can steer the boat with a foot pedal, this is a huge strain, and so having the Raymarine autopilot onboard will be a huge benefit in our attempt to break the record.”

All four team members are acutely aware that the record-attempt will not only be hugely physically demanding, but also a massive mental strain, with extreme fatigue, stress and intense isolation to overcome. By completing the crossing, they also hope to raise money for a special charity, The Mark Evison Foundation, set up in memory of a close friend who was killed in action in Afghanistan.

Inspired by the memory of their friend, the team are confident in undertaking the challenge ahead. They are also hoping to make donations to Access Sport, Compassion UK and the Light Dragoons Charitable Trust (The Colonel’s Appeal Fund).

Thanking Raymarine for its support, Ollie continues: “We are familiar with Raymarine equipment from various yacht sailing we have all done in the past, and it’s fantastic to know we will be crossing the Indian Ocean with such reliable equipment onboard that we know works well in the toughest of conditions.”