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Unexpected detour for Oar Blimey transatlantic charity rowers

Posted onPosted on 22nd Dec

Mansfield transatlantic charity rowers George Nelson and Russ Davis have had to make an unscheduled stop  in Gran Canaria during their bid to row unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean from Portugal to Sint Maarten.

Problems with their solar panel, which was not charging batteries, forced the Oar Blimey team to detour – and unexpectedly  means they will spend Christmas Day on the island.

The rowers, who aim to raise £250,000 for two dementia charities, have reported: “We’re doing it for all the right (safety) reasons. Interestingly we prayed for north easterly winds and got them; only to find ourselves rowing against them to reach the lovely island of Gran Canaria.

“Arriving at Las Palmas Marina yesterday morning, after a night of dodging giant ships (we never look forward to encountering these giants at sea), Wednesday night was time to face our fears. If there’s ever been a squeaky bum moment, this was ours. We had to weave our way through a cluster of cargo ships coming into Las Palmas. That’s why sleep wasn’t an option until we were safely in the marina.
“We spent yesterday afternoon with marine electrician Carlos, who identified that our rear solar panel is faulty. However, this work cannot be rectified until Boxing Day! So, it’s Christmas Day on Gran Canaria!
“We are desperate to get back out there rowing, but recognise this delay at least allows us to slow down a little. We took ourselves out for dinner last night, had pork and chips, and overloaded with death by chocolate cake (and just the one beer). Planning to repeat this again today, but with double eggs! We didn’t take any rocking once we got back to the boat either and slept for 12 hours solid.”
‘The brothers-in-law also praised the power of social media for helping with the unexpected stop for repairs, saying: “Our lovely neighbour back home (Sue, from Spectrum WASP – We Are Special People) contacted her brother, Pete, who lives in Canada, who in turn contacted his friend, Adrian, who lives in the Canaries, with contacts in Gran Canaria. Big shout out to Adrian who reached out to us yesterday! Wow! Good hearts and kind souls! We thank you all.”


 George and Russ set off on a three-month adventure of a lifetime on 1st December, aiming to row unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean and raise £250,000 for two dementia charities. They will each row for two hours at a time and then rest in between.

The 3,500-mile challenge began in front of a small group of supporters in Portugal and the duo want to reach Sint Maarten in the Caribbean.

Team Oar Blimey are rowing in a Rannoch Adventure R20, which is just 6.5m long and 1.2m wide, in their bid to help Our Dementia Choir with Vicky McClure and Ladybrook Enterprises.

The rowers can be tracked at or download the YB Races app and add their race, “Oar Blimey Atlantic Ocean Challenge 2023”.

To find out more about the rowing challenge or to help support the cause, visit where you can make a donation or find them on Facebook at