A TEAM of ex-army personnel, led by Cirencester action man Charlie Martell, are getting ready for the race of their lives as the tackle the high seas of the Atlantic in a rowing boat.

On Saturday Commando Joe will board a small boat in New York harbour and begin rowing. If everything goes to plan they will land 50 days later in Falmouth.

The team, competing under the name 'Team Hesco powered by Commando Joe', made up of Charlie, Mark Waterson, Pete Rowlands and Ben Fouracre, is taking to the high seas and competing in the first ever Shepherds Ocean Fours Rowing Race to the UK.

The Standard spoke to Charlie as he made his final preparations for the race in New York.

He said: "We're all feeling pretty good about it. I'm not too excited yet but that will come. Training in the Cotswold Water Park has proved to be fantastic practise for us because the last few days have been pretty bad.

"The excitement is building with more and more friends and family arriving."

The challenge, the second in a triple pronged effort by Commando Joe, will raise funds for the Meningitis Trust.

Last year the group came second in the Polar Challenge and Charlie said the group is hoping to go one better and win the rowing race.

He said: "We hope it will take 50 days, two of the guys have wedding anniversaries on the 51st day so we need to be back by then."

But he admitted there will be few creature comforts to keep the team cheerful as they fight the waves and bleak Atlantic weather.

He said: "We are trying to cut down on what we take but we do have an i-Pod with lots of tunes to keep us going. I am sure our wives and girlfriends will put some surprises in for us."

Commando Joe are set to follow the Polar and Atlantic challenges with one more extreme race next year, an as yet undecided Desert challenge.

For more information on the Atlantic trip visit www.teamhesco.com or to sponsor the team visit www.justgiving.com/oceanrowing