In 2005, after 124 days alone at sea Olly (Oliver) Hicks returned to Falmouth having just set two world records: he is the first person to row solo from America to England and the youngest ever, at 23, to row an ocean. The expedition introduced the British public to an ambitious, brave and new-age explorer. Setting foot on land in Falmouth, Olly was greeted by his sponsor Sir Richard Branson and by his friend Prince William. It was then that Olly announced his new plan: to row solo around the world.
For Olly, the Atlantic was just a testing-ground. Indeed, on this first voyage he was planning the next 'epic' ocean adventure - rowing around Antarctica in the Southern Ocean, an ocean row that would take in all the world's oceans. Fellow explorer, Sir Richard Branson, who had part-financed Olly's earlier row, came onboard as expedition title sponsor with his Virgin global super-brand. Google soon followed.
'Tenacity on the Tasman' charts a global sponsorship campaign, medical and logistical preparations, embarkation for the treacherous and unforgiving waters of the Southern Ocean - the ultimate act of courage – and nearly 100 days at sea. .
Some 50 days into the row, technical failure of the vessel and an alarming forecast of hostile ice off the Ross Sea, cause Oliver to suspend the row. But suspending a row 1000 miles from land is no simple task. As plans are time and time again over-ridden by circumstance, we watch Olly handle the world's most hostile marine environment as he diverts towards New Zealand. Determined to make landfall without a full-scale rescue operation, Olly shows the mettle of the classic explorer - enduring frustration whilst improvising to maintain a failing craft.
Just at the point when he knows he must abandon his circumnavigation, unseasonal weather conditions start to propel Olly headlong into the Southern Ocean. Friend and Project Manager, George Olver, awaiting landfall in Bluff, New Zealand, urgently commandeers a a Maori-owned fishing vessel to guide Olly back to land in storm force conditions.
In the teeth of defeat, Olly nonetheless snatches the record of being the first to row the Tasman Sea from Tasmania to New Zealand, after an incredibly frustrating 96 days alone at sea. Olly has so far spent 2.2% of his life alone at sea in a rowing boat!