The rowing team will be taking part in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic challenge in December 2022. The gruelling challenge involves rowing more than 3,000 miles from La Gomera, Canary Islands to English Harbour, Antigua & Barbuda in an estimated 45 to 50 days.
The ‘In Our Element’ team is made up of long-time friends Hollie Luff, Mike Hatch, Elliot Holman and Rachel Lasham.
Team captain Hollie said: ‘David Attenborough and his documentary film A Life On Our Planet emphasised the seriousness of plastic pollution in our oceans and it has inspired the entire team. It’s a daunting physical challenge but we are determined and feel incredibly energised knowing we are raising awareness and funds for innovative research which could provide a major breakthrough in this area.’
Launching their bid at the Southampton Boat Show on Wednesday, September 15, the team announced their partnership with the University of Portsmouth’s Centre for Enzyme Innovation.
They will be raising money and awareness for the centre’s research programme, which aims to revolutionise plastic use and help reduce ocean plastic pollution.
Also at the launch was University of Portsmouth professor John McGeehan who presented the centre’s work to ‘develop enzymes that can break down man-made plastic materials, providing the potential for infinite plastics recycling.’
He said: ‘We are very proud to partner with the ‘In Our Element’ team who are undertaking The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge - an inspirational endeavour where the crew will face the full force and beauty of nature in open seas, while raising awareness of the damage that plastic pollution is inflicting on our environment. I wish the crew every success and I am extremely grateful to all those who give their support to the ‘In Our Element’ team and our ongoing research in plastic-digesting enzymes.’
The team are also colleagues at Premier Marinas, who is the primary sponsor and lead supporters of the team. CEO Pete Bradshaw said Premier Marinas is ‘delighted’ to be sponsoring the team.
He said: ‘Given the team are all colleagues their challenge is extremely personal for the whole company and we’re excited to follow their progress over the next year. Premier is already a leader in many aspects of environmentally sensitive marina management. Helping play a part to support the innovative work being undertaken at The University of Portsmouth is also incredibly rewarding.’
Premier Marinas’ sustainability efforts were also rewarded with the Exhibitor Sustainability Award 2021, which it won on the first day of the boat show. Being the first marina operator to introduce waste recycling across all its sites, leading in solar power generation, providing water-saving facilities and the safe disposal of ‘black water’, Premier Marinas has the target of achieving net zero by 2050.