Midhurst Atlantic Polo Team brave the storms

L-R Henry Brett, Viscount Bobby Melville, Fergus Scholes and James Glasson. The Atlantic Polo Team.
L-R Henry Brett, Viscount Bobby Melville, Fergus Scholes and James Glasson. The Atlantic Polo Team.

MIDHURST resident James Glasson and his team of professional polo players are battling across the Atlantic ocean, having survived stormy seas and near-death experiences.

The ‘Atlantic Polo Team’ are professional polo players rowing unaided in a seven-metre rowing boat in a race like no other.

James said: “We have been through hell and this is a mental challenge like 
no other.

“We are looking forward to the finish line and our competitive edge remains as we are now trying to push to second place.”

Having been at sea since December 4, the team have experienced the worst weather conditions in 100 years, during which time they had to remain locked in a two-metre-long airtight cabin for three days.

But the drama did not end there – just days later, crew member Henry Brett, a former captain of the England polo team, was washed overboard and dragged beneath the boat by his safety line before surfacing.

Henry was taken from the boat by a 35ft wave, immediately getting dragged underneath the boat before fighting his way back to the surface and being rescued by team-mate James Glasson.

A number of similar incidents have occurred in what is widely recognised as the world’s toughest ocean rowing race.

At the beginning of December, 16 crews set off from La Gomera to take part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Now only 13 crews remain in a race which some liken to the Grand National – with the numbers dwindling, it is unknown how many of the fleet will finish, and teams still have another month at sea to endure.

The Atlantic Polo Team are more accustomed to travelling around the world playing polo than they are rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic in a seven-metre by two-metre rowing boat, a sporting challenge that will put them to their biggest 
test yet.

The team are rowing to raise money for their chosen charities – animal welfare charity The Brooke, Right to Play, which helps disadvantaged children and communities, and the Hilton in the Community foundation.

They are expected to arrive in Antigua at the end of January, having spent two months unaided at sea.