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Whoa, we’re half way there! Atlantic rowers pass major milestone

Posted onPosted on 23rd Jan

Intrepid charity fundraisers George Nelson and Russ Davis closed January on course to row across the Atlantic Ocean unsupported.

On 23rd January the Mansfield brothers-in-law — known as Oar Blimey — passed the halfway point of their remarkable 3,500-mile mission in aid of dementia charities.

George said after the duo reached their landmark: “We officially crossed the halfway point of our challenge — 1,771 miles completed.

“What an oarsome feeling and huge psychological boost.

“Time for a celebration! Russ and I enjoyed a wee dram of whisky with dinner tonight, and pushed the boat out (no pun intended) making it a double — a fitting reward for reaching this milestone.

“Now the big countdown begins as we focus on reuniting with our loved ones.

“Let’s hope we get some easterly winds to help us on our way!”

Unseasonal south-west winds pushed the rowers backwards during early January, just one of a number of unexpected problems they faced.

Having been forced to stay in Gran Canaria over Christmas to replace faulty equipment, they were also knocked over during rough weather and had to tackle problems with their water and stove in January.

However, the rowers said there have also been highlights, such as getting hit by flying fish and rowing alongside dorado fish — blue and yellow in colour, just like Mansfield Town FC.

Rowing in two-hour shifts — weather permitting — on board the ‘tiny’ Innovation Nottinghamshire Memory Boat for around three months, the Mansfield men are aiming to raise £250,000 for two dementia charities.

Team Oar Blimey want to make a real difference to Nottinghamshire-based Our Dementia Choir, whose chairman is award-winning actress Vicky McClure, and Ladybrook Enterprises, Mansfield, which plans to extend its community work to further help people with dementia.

Earlier in January the rowers believe they had a couple of close encounters with the sea’s large mammals.

“We had some sort of wreckage drift past us. It was a big sea-worn wooden crate or container with a ship’s light strapped to it,” they said.

“As we rowed past, a big creature swam around us. It was about two metres long, with a dark black and white underbelly.

“It quickly darted alongside us, under us, and, thankfully, swam away! It wasn’t a dolphin or a shark, but it was certainly big.

Later they reported that their depth sounder alarmed to indicate that their water depth was down to six feet.

George said: “It was pitch dark and the sea was pretty calm. Over the course of a few minutes, the depth sounder alarmed again, suggesting we were only in four feet, and then three feet of water!

“This was very strange because we knew the ‘true’ depth of our location was about 2.75 miles. So, what was it?

“There were no sounds of mammals. Russ believes it was a big shark following us!”

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