‘Grandads’ Set to Embark on 3000 Mile Atlantic Row for Charity

Level Peaks assist in world record attempt during the 2018 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Image courtesy of Atlantic Campaigns


In December 2018, Neil Young and Peter Ketley will attempt to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. With a combined age of 123 years and no previous rowing experience, the ‘Grandads of the Atlantic’ face a huge challenge. If successful, they’ll become the oldest pair to cross the Atlantic – a feat completed less times than summiting Everest.

In their younger years, Neil and Peter completed officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and were both commissioned into the Parachute Regiment. They first met in 1978 as Platoon Commanders on their first tour with 2 PARA in Berlin and later as instructors in Aldershot, where they trained recruits. They also played rugby in the army together and have remained friends for nearly 40 years.

Their friendship will likely be put to the test as they take on the world’s toughest rowing challenge. Alongside 30 other teams, it’ll take nothing but oars and sheer determination to reach the finish line; completely unassisted. With supplies for at least 70 days at sea, they will also need to navigate and manage repairs themselves. Starting in La Gomera in the Canary Islands, Spain they’ll need to complete over 1.5 million strokes to reach he finish in Antigua.


The Grandad’s will be using a Rannoch 25, an eight-metre pairs ocean rowing boat built by specialists, Rannoch Adventure. With an exceptional record for safety, reliability and speed, they are confident it will be capable of withstanding the unpredictable nature of the Atlantic Ocean.

It is specially equipped to enable 70 days alone at sea. Completely self-sufficient, they’ll take it in turns to row continuously, day and night, in two-hour shifts.

If a storm hits, they will need to lock themselves into two small, sealed cabins and sit it out. Apparently, it’s a bit like being tossed around inside a washing machine – the temperature inside could be in excess of 40°C.

The boat is designed to self-right if it capsizes. It will also be equipped with a medical kit, satellite communications and a life raft in case the worst happens and they need to abandon. We are planning to call our boat ‘Utrinque Paratus’ – the Parachute Regiment motto, meaning ‘ready for anything’.


Whilst they attempt to set a world record as the oldest pair to row across the Atlantic, the pair’s main aim is to raise £250,000 for three amazing charities.