AGE: 28

CAPTAIN

Josh Warne

Born in Exeter, Devon, Josh grew up in Okehampton on the edge of Dartmoor. After completing a degree in Geology at the University of Southampton he attended RMA Sandhurst and commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 2014. He has since served at 36 Engineer Regt, 11 EOD Regt, 35 Engineer Regt (EOD&S) and most recently 21 Engineer Regt. His time in the army has seen him work in Kenya, Canada and West Africa and carry out a specialist UK Search and Explosive Ordinance Disposal role in support of the Police and civil authorities.

Responsible for ‘floating’ the idea of a Sapper team undertaking the challenge, he has been fortunate in finding a group of suitable nutters to take part in the event with him. Significant care and attention has gone into forming a team with the right mixture of skills and character to make the campaign a success. With an interest in team dynamics and leadership he hopes to apply the lessons learnt from his work in the Army to the rigours of an Atlantic rowing campaign.

Josh has an extensive background in adventure that started from a young age. This has only increased since joining the Army, where he has been fortunate to have participated in and led mountaineering expeditions to some of the world’s most extreme and remote locations including Nepal, Borneo and Africa. This included a close call in an avalanche triggered by the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, which had a profound impact on him. Unable to say no to a challenge, he has completed a self-supported 250km ultra marathon across the Atacama Desert in Chile, the 125 mile Devizes to Westminster Canoe marathon, driven an auto-rickshaw the length of India and completed several other endurance events including the OMM and Trailwalker. As a qualified Day Skipper, he is hoping he can transfer the diverse experience gained from previous adventures to the TWAC.

He feels strongly that being able to support the valuable work being done by our two charity partners the RBLI and the REA makes the challenges of the event and years of preparation completely worthwhile. Josh’s girlfriend Estelle and his family are by now used to his silly ideas, although this one might be the grandest yet. Despite this, they are fully supportive of the team and look forward to following yet another dot on a tracker for weeks at a time!

AGE: 38

WARRANT OFFICER CLASS 1 (RSM)

Chris Watson

Born in Burton on Trent, Chris enlisted into the Corps of Royal Engineers in January 2001. He has since served with 36 Engr Regt, 42 Engr Regt, 3 Royal School of Military Engineering Regt, The Battlefield Engineering Wing, 26 Engr Regt, The 12th Brigade Reconnaissance Force, 170 Engr Gp (Infrastructure), and is currently a Squadron Sergeant Major at 21 Engr Regt. During this time, he has deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Northern Ireland, Falklands, Germany, Kenya, Caribbean, Jordan, Oman, Malaysia and the USA.

Chris’ depth of experience will be invaluable during the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, also a qualified electrician and solar panel installer, he and the rest of the team will take meticulous care of the onboard systems, allowing all efforts to be focused on the oars. Chris and Josh were adamant from the start that the team dynamics had to be right, in the team they have combined the right blend of competitiveness, determination and sense of humour to succeed.

From an early age Chris has played most sports, enjoying that close-knit bond that develops in a positive team environment. In more recent years he has found pleasure in the discomfort of endurance events, completing the Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) in 2019.

A recent visit to their chosen military charities has added an extra inspiration for Chris. Having lost close friends, he has seen first-hand the amazing support provided to families by the Royal Engineers Association.

Chris and his wife Katy have two sons who will be watching intently as the team embark on the 3000 mile race. Chris and Katy believe that although it will be more time spent away from his family, it is a life changing opportunity that should be grasped. Afterall what a story to tell the grandchildren!

AGE: 43

MAJOR

Tim Ives

Born in Plymouth, Tim grew up in the Westcountry and Fiji, and joined the Army in 2002 after a spell as a Civil Engineer. Having completed training at Sandhurst he commissioned into the Royal Engineers and has subsequently served in 39 Engineer Regiment, 33 Engineer Regiment (EOD), 170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group, the Royal School of Military Engineering and Army Headquarters. He has deployed on operations to Iraq and Afghanistan, and on exercise to Canada, the Falkland Islands and Kenya.

Tim’s background in offshore sailing will add some of the skills required to complete the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge to the Salty Sapper crew. He is using this as a spur to improve his knowledge of ocean navigation. Being a chartered engineer means that he is used to analysing and solving a range of problems. His military background is advantageous in fostering effective teamwork, and in embracing discomfort.

Tim is a keen kayaker and an occasional sailor. He has completed the 125 mile Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race seven times, and is part of the (2019) reigning Army champion crew and fastest Services team. He trains with Truro Canoe Club, and races for the Royal Engineers and Army whenever possible. Tim has completed the Fastnet race three times and taken part in sailing expeditions around southern England, the Baltic and across the North Pacific.

Tim is delighted to be supporting Royal British Legion Industries and the Royal Engineers Association having seen at first hand both the difficult circumstances that serving and ex-forces personnel can find themselves in, and the excellent work that these charities do to assist those in need.

Tim is married to Jen, and proud father of Edward and Emily. The family is settled near Truro in Cornwall. Doubtless his children will monitor the race with amused fascination.

AGE: 31

CORPORAL

Chris Hayto

Born and raised in Manchester, Chris joined the Corp of Royal Engineers in 2010. After completing basic training, he moved onto The Royal School of Military Engineering where he completed his Combat Engineer course and Military Electricians course. Chris was posted to 21 Engineer Regiment in 2012 as a Sapper and has since gained promotion to Corporal whilst seeing Operational deployments to Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq as well as numerous overseas exercises to Kenya.

All of the challenges Chris has encountered and overcome through his career will hopefully help the team during the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. As a Combat Engineer he can be expected to resolve engineering issues with limited equipment in some of the most challenging environments in the world, the Atlantic Ocean being no exception. The boat’s desalination unit, or water-maker as it is more commonly known, converts seawater into drinkable water. This is the teams only means of staying hydrated for the duration of the crossing and it will be Chris’ job to ensure this stays operational.

Even though this is Chris’ first attempt at any form of endurance event, he has always been a keen sportsman even turning his hand to Netball during the Greater Manchester Youth Games. As a teenager he played football, basketball, field hockey, competed in track and field events and would regularly be found climbing mountains whilst on family holidays. All of these have created a very competitive nature and one that is keen to take on any challenge laid in front of him.

As with all of Chris’ deployments, his wife, Joanna is 100% behind him although she is struggling to see the appeal of potentially spending 40 days in a 8.64m boat with 3 other men. Joanna’s apprehension and worries are softened knowing that all the money raised will be going to two amazing charities that will have such a positive effect on the lives of those they help.

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