Impossible dream spurs Jamie on to back-breaking adventure

An adventurer is preparing to haul across the most dangerous ocean crossing in the world in a 750-mile trip to Antarctica dubbed The Impossible Row.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 6:00 am

Jamie Douglas-Hamilton, 38, will set off on Monday as part of a crew of six, in a bid to cross the Drake Passage across the Southern Indian Ocean unassisted by engine or sail power, from Cape Horn to mainland Antarctica.

In 2014, Mr Douglas-Hamilton was part of a Guinness world record-breaking team that rowed 5,000 ­nautical miles across the Indian Ocean from Australia to Africa.

His grandfather, Douglas, 14th Duke of Hamilton, started the ­family’s taste for adventure and was one of the first men to fly over the summit of Mount Everest in 1933.

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Mr Douglas-Hamilton, of Edinburgh, said: “This will be a world first.

“No one’s done completely human powered before and there’s a lot that can go wrong. Once you’re in the ocean you’ve got the full force of the wind straight into your face.

“If you capsize or go completely over, you’d get soaked the whole way through and you get two to five minutes of survival time. The biggest fear is hypothermia because we will ­capsize and we will get wet.

“It’s a dangerous crossing but I think it is possible. We’ve got a great team.”

The expedition is being filmed by the Discovery Channel which is ­producing a documentary to be screened next year.

The crew will be accompanied by a ship that won’t intervene unless someone’s life is in jeopardy.

During the three-week crossing, which starts on December 9, the crew will row in 90-minute shifts around the clock, with three rowing as three attempt to sleep.

The team comprises of Mr Douglas-Hamilton, Fiann Paul, Colin O’Brady, Cameron Bellamy – who rowed with Mr Douglas-Hamilton on the Indian Ocean crossing – Andrew Towne and John Peterson.

Mr Douglas-Hamilton, who set up a bottled water company in 2017, has been training for the crossing for the last year but has ramped up his efforts as the expedition crept closer.

For the last few weeks he has set a timer during the night when he would jump out of bed and onto the rowing machine every 60 minutes.

Mr Douglas-Hamilton said: “Once you look back on it, it’s some of the best memories you’ll ever have in your life, great friendships, and it’s just so much fun but it wasn’t at the time.”

The expedition has been codenamed The Impossible Row.

Mr Douglas-Hamilton added: “I want to show that not everything is impossible that looks it. If you really commit to something, these things can be done.

“You can push yourself so much harder than you ever knew possible.”