For Jamie Douglas-Hamilton, the drive to explore courses through his veins, inherited from his grandfather, Douglas 14th Duke of Hamilton, who was the first to fly over the summit of Mount Everest in an open cockpit biplane.

In 2014 Jamie was part of a Guinness World Record breaking team that rowed 5,000 nautical miles across the Indian Ocean from Australia to Africa.

Now the 38-year-old is preparing for his next gruelling challenge – to row across the 750 mile Drake Passage unassisted by engine or sail power from Cape Horn to mainland Antarctica.

He said “When I was a boy I read Endurance about Shackleton’s rescue voyage when they sailed from Elephant Island to South Georgia in a small life boat and I couldn’t believe the hardship they went through.

It is exciting but slightly scary that we are going in a similar size boat that is lower to the sea and that we are rowing against the waves and current which will be dragging us East, as we will be rowing Southwards.” This expedition is the riskiest yet.

With freezing temperatures, wind chill and seas that could reach up to 80 feet, the crew of six, rowing against the current, are facing life or death conditions. Mr Douglas-Hamilton, who set up his business ACTIPH Water in 2017, said: “This will be a world first. No-one’s done completely human powered before and there’s a lot that can go wrong.

“Once you’re in the ocean you’ve got the full force of the wind straight into your face. If you capsize or go completely over, you’d get soaked the whole way through and you get two to five minutes of survival time. The biggest fear is hypothermia because we will capsize and we will get wet.

“It’s a dangerous crossing but I think it is possible. We’ve got a great team.”

The team comprises of Mr DouglasHamilton, Fiann Paul, Colin O’Brady, Cameron Bellamy, who rowed with Mr Douglas-Hamilton on the Indian Ocean crossing, Andrew Towne and John Peterson.

All of them experienced athletes who have each taken on considerable challenges in the past.

During the three-week crossing, which starts on December 9, the crew will row in 90-minute shifts around the clock, with three rowing as three attempt to sleep.

Mr Douglas-Hamilton has been training for the crossing for the last year but has ramped up his efforts as the expedition crept closer.

For the few last weeks he has set a timer during the night when he would jump out of bed and onto the rowing machine every 60 minutes.

Temperatures when they leave Cape Horn are expected to be around 3 degrees, dropping to freezing and below on the approach to Antarctica.

If a storm hits there isn’t enough space in the boat for all six to shelter – three can fit into the hold and the other three would have to lie on top of them.

If any water gets into the hold it affects the boats ability to self-right after capsizing.

The expedition is being filmed by the Discovery Channel which is producing a documentary to be screened in 2020.

The challenge crew will be accompanied by a ship that won’t intervene unless someone’s life is in jeopardy.

Freeze-dried food, a water desalination unit – the crew should be drinking six to seven litres per day to stay hydrated and, crucially, warm – and a satellite phone will be on board with the crew – who will be attempting to call home on Christmas Day.

Each man is expected to expend around 10,000 calories per day but with food supplies probably only around 6,000 per day, the deficit will cause weight loss – making them feel the freezing temperatures even more.

Mr Douglas-Hamilton is anticipating the pain he will feel sitting and rowing for hours over three weeks.

During his Indian Ocean Row he lost seven layers of skin as it rubbed against the boat, and his three and a half stone weight loss over three months meant his bones were more exposed to the hard wood.

But the feeling of achievement when a challenge has been completed makes the pain, fear and exhaustion worth it.

He said: “Once you look back on it it’s some of the best memories you’ll ever have in your life, great friendships and it’s just so much fun but it wasn’t at the time.”

The expedition has been codenamed The Impossible Row and many of Mr Douglas-Hamilton’s friends and family have expressed their fears over the journey.

He said: “I want to show that not everything is impossible that looks it. If you really commit to something these things can be done – you can push yourself so much harder than you ever knew possible.”