What do you know about…

Charity Oars?

Charity Oars


Well, Charity Oars are a pair of oars, hand crafted by a master carpenter and boat builder. These oars are being signed by sporting heroes, television, stage, movie stars, local heroes and public figures. All to help raise awareness and funds for Thrombosis UK.

I recently met the man behind the Charity Oars and he has written a blog. The blog is extremely embarrassing and flattering. Paul (the man behind the Charity Oars) is a particularly likeable man who has come up with this great idea, having suffered from a Pulmonary Embolism (PE) himself – sounds nasty and it is!

Here’s Paul’s blog:

“Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, Life is but a dream ….!

What wonderful memories these few words bring back, rowing a boat slowly down a stream, no doubt in the sunshine, with the wind blowing softly through the tree’s as the ripples made by the oars float off into the distance.


Not quite the same scenario for Charlie Martell.

Firstly the “row, row, row your boat” is partly correct, however it would be more along the lines of “row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row your boat.”

The “gently down the stream” should in all fairness say “violently, up and down 6 meter high waves across 3,716 miles of ocean.”

Not too sure if there is a Charlie Martell appropriate turn of phrase for “merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily.” I’m guessing the closest would be “merrily I see land…!!”

The line “life is but a dream.” It doesn’t matter if the dream is big, or if the dream is small, but a dream is still an ambition, a challenge, a goal and so much more, and life should be a dream.

So far this crazy (inspirational), mad (heroic), silly (admirable) chap has taken part in a race to the North Pole, Rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, taken part in The Real Boat Race which is a 500-mile, six-day rowing challenge starting In London, at The London Eye, and ending at the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Crews have to navigate two of the world’s most historic rivers and must also cross the English Channel – the world’s busiest shipping channel. Charlie attempted to row the Pacific Ocean (only to be beaten by Typhoon Mawar). Charlie is now planning to take on the Pacific Ocean “again” in 2018 …! To top it all off Charlie is part of the team “Flying for Freedom” who are mounting a daring expedition, which will be undertaken by eight wounded and injured servicemen. Its objective is to focus attention on the urgent need to build self-sustaining activities that get our injured veterans back into work and daily life.

The Expedition, which is organised in partnership with Help for Heroes, will show their ability not their disability as they each fly by microlight to the South Pole.

So let’s recap … North Pole, South Pole, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and a jolly jaunt from London to Paris ….!!

So, when you have the opportunity to meet and chat with such an inspirational person it seemed the right thing to do. As you know the whole Charity Oars campaign is about gaining support from sportsmen, women, television, film stars and people who are inspirational within the community. Charlie Martell certainly is an inspiration.

So off we popped to Paddington station, trying not to look too suspicious or out of place. Standing casually by the “meeting” sign with an 8 foot oar, I seemed to fit in rather well. True, a couple of the other people were standing there with flowers and presents, I dread to think what they thought I was up to…? Answers on a postcard to ……

Well up walked Charlie, a cheery handshake and off we went for a coffee …!

To accomplish all of the adventures that he has undertaken to date, and the support he’s had from his many sponsors and most importantly the charities that he has supported along the way, is a testament to all that is right with the world.

Now this is the part that I’m hoping the lovely Ellisa skips past (of course she might not get this far I do tend to waffle on..!) Well, as Charlie and I chatted on about life, adventures, mentoring, life challenges and other such admirable subjects, the conversation came to “what happens once the Charity Oars are auctioned off?” Well, according to Charlie “The Atlantic is an achievable goal…!”

So who’s up for a row?

It’s all too easy as time passes (a sad truth I’m afraid) to just stop and think you’re done and there’s nothing left out there to drive you, to push you, to stop you living…..!

Well along with Charlie, I couldn’t disagree more….! After surviving Typhoon Mawar, the “normal” response you’d think would be “nope, not doing that again…!” But no, in fact Charlie’s response was; “What if we experience bad weather again? I’m certain it will happen, but I hope it’s not of typhoon strength. If Blossom and I were to find ourselves in a typhoon again, I’m confident we would not only survive again, but would come out of it relatively unscathed and able to continue on our journey.”

survivor səˈvʌɪvə/

noun: survivor; plural noun: survivors

a person who survives, especially a person remaining alive after an event – A person who copes well with difficulties in their life.

Survivors come in all shapes, sexes, colours, heights and sizes. Survivors come from all professions, communities and backgrounds. Now here was someone who had survived a typhoon, and countless other “adventures” personally and professionally.

In the journey so far, the Charity Oars have met some truly amazing people, I mean “truly” amazing. The bizarre circumstance of sitting in a coffee bar at Paddington Station, chatting with a double Guinness Record holder, a chap who has rowed the Atlantic, nearly the Pacific (damn that typhoon), been to the North Pole as well as soon heading to the South Pole, and wants to look for that next adventure, well how could we be anything but in awe…..?….!

It truly was an honor to meet such a chap, who’d of thought all of those years ago I would have been chatting to a Double Guinness Record holder? Not I …!

So, oceans, polar expeditions, an apparent gentle row from London to Paris, now chatting with the Charity Oars …. How amazing is Charlie’s life?

So from a son of a RN Commander (I really wasn’t ever going to follow in his footsteps…!!) all those orders…!! I’d like to give a huge “salute” of thanks to Charlie, for all he’s accomplished so far, for all the amazing adventures in the future, for all the amazing support he’s given to charities and individuals and for the inspiration he gives to so many people. The Charity Oars say …

#Thankyou #TopChap “

Polar Challenge 2005

HMS Mersey visiting Team HESCO








DW Start

Sunset Pacific Ocean 2012









G-CHGA Sundown


To read more about Charity Oars: Charity Oars website  To read (and learn) more about Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE): Thrombosis UK

Balance of News

The man who could be regarded as the Godfather of Ocean Rowing. (pic courtesy of Ocean Rowing Society)

Kenneth Crutchlow – The man who could be regarded as the Godfather of Ocean Rowing. (pic courtesy of Ocean Rowing Society)


Several years ago, I had the pleasure to meet with a man, a good man, whom I found to be quiet, knowledgeable and selfless. We discussed the rather odd topic of ocean rowing, in particular the Pacific Ocean. That man was Kenneth Crutchlow. Without Kenneth Crutchlow there probably would be no Ocean Rowing Society. We only met the once, but Kenneth left me with a positive influence and certainly didn’t discourage me from attempting to row the Pacific. Today, (4th February 2016) Kenneth will be laid to rest. Rest In Peace, the man who could be described as the Godfather of Ocean Rowing.

Kenneth Crutchlow introducing ‘Team Hesco powered by Commando Joe’ prior to receiving their Guinness World Records


(Craig Glenday (Editor in Chief Guinness World Records, Charlie Martell, Mark Waterson, Kenneth (Ocean Rowing Society), Pete Rowlands, Ben Fouracre)


The Balance of News, the obvious bad news above but there is some good Ocean Rowing news…


After 209 days at sea all alone, John Beeden has successfully rowed from San Francisco, USA to Queensland, Australia!

Made it!

Made it!

John Beeden

John Beeden




You can read more on John’s voyage by going to the BBC article: www.bbc.co.uk

Well done John – an enormous achievement!



Coxless Crew

Coxless Crew

John wasn’t the only one out rowing across the Pacific Ocean, on a similar route. Six courageous women, three of whom rowed the entire route, the other three rowed a leg each, have earned themselves two Guinness World Records and a huge amount of media attention – and quite rightly so. The Coxless Crew is made up of Laura Penhaul, Emma Mitchell, Natalia Cohen, Isabel Burnham (1st Leg), Lizanne Van Vuuren (2nd Leg) and Meg Dyos (3rd Leg). The voyage took a little bit longer than first anticipated, but is still an epic achievement. For more info www.coxlesscrew.com




Let’s not forget, there have also been a number of other people rowing… The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge #TWAC2015  saw 26 boats leave La Gomera for Antigua. Crews were either solo, pairs or fours and were rowing either Pure Class or Concept Class boats. I spoke with two of the crews as they prepared for their respective challenge and both crews have done very well (nothing to do with me I can assure you!). The crews are:

Olly Clark and Dan Parsons of ‘Atlantic Challenge 2015’ (www.atlantic-row.com), who won the Pure Pairs Class


pic credit Ben Duffy


James, Liam, Stuart and James of ‘All Beans No Monkeys’ (www.allbeansnomonkeys.com)

pic credit Atlantic Campaigns

Well done to all you Ocean Rowers! Fantastic human achievements! Watch this space for more news of my return to the Pacific Ocean!

The end for some… The start for others…

As the first quarter of the year comes to a close (where did it go?!), the RBS 6 Nations rugby has finished… well done all teams for providing us spectators with an amazing championship and well done to Ireland, this year’s winners. The end of this first quarter also signals the start of not only planning adventures for some but also for those lucky ones, the start of adventures!


One of Flying For Freedom‘s mentors, Dave Sykes is an accomplished microlight pilot who can claim being the first paraplegic to have flown solo from London, UK to Sydney, Australia (2011). Yesterday, Dave departed from York as he heads towards south towards Europe and will then turn north heading for the North Pole.

Dave Sykes route

Dave intends to make this flight solo and will be the first paraplegic to complete this challenge. From all at Flying For Freedom, “Good Luck Dave!” If you want to sponsor Dave, he’s raising funds for Martin House Children’s Hospice


In a little over three weeks, four young ladies will be departing on the first leg of their massive challenge… to row from San Francisco to Australia via Hawaii and Samoa. I urge you to follow these amazing people as they set out on this amazing voyage in April; they are the Coxless Crew 

I spoke with Laura, one of the crew a few days ago and the team are raring to go. They would value your support! The girls are raising funds for Walking With The Wounded and Breast Cancer Care



 In May, Veterans In Action (VIA) will begin their 4,000 mile walk around the coastline of the UK as a means to help some of those who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


Look out for the VIA bus and if you see it somewhere near you, say hi to the team. PTSD is not a disease, it is not contagious and you may well learn what some of these people have been through. Taking the time to talk to them may help them…  Please do donate a £1 or more if you can spare it, it would be greatly appreciated.

Until my next post, adieu!





Water mainly…

Since completing the Devizes to Westminster race, I look upon other challenges people (mainly people I consider and am proud to call friends) are undertaking, pushing their limits and raising funds for charities in the process.

Flying For Freedom (FFF) now has four trained and qualified solo WIS* microlight pilots with one more in training. These pilots will spearhead FFF’s inaugural expedition, the British Antarctic Microlight Expedition. It’s not all about the exped though… military (serving or ex) WIS personnel can be part of the legacy programme and can learn to fly microlights thanks to sponsors and public financial support. Read more about what’s happening in the air www.flyingforfreedom.org
*Wounded, Injured, Sick


Niall Iain Macdonald is now in New York, along with his solo ocean rowing boat “Alliance Trust”. After several years of not only planning this challenge, but also having to put it on hold several times, NI is about to embark on his solo unsupported rowing challenge from the Big Apple to Stornoway – approximately 3,400 miles it may take NI 3 or more months to complete. This route is the less chosen route with only ten ever rowing it solo. NI will be the first person to row to Stornoway!
NI raising awareness and funds for the ‘Scottish Association for Mental Health’ and has set himself a fundraising target of £100,000.
If you would like to follow or even better, to donate, then please visit www.ny2sy.co.uk Good Luck NI!


Starting on 18 May 2014 a team of four will attempt to become the first people to complete a straight-line journey from one end of Britain to the other. This unique expedition has never been attempted before and is an audacious take on an iconic UK challenge. The route will travel through some of the most extreme coastal, mountain and urban environments that the UK has to offer. It guarantees to be incredibly challenging, both physically and mentally, but also hugely rewarding.
This strong team of four includes a serving RAF Aircrew, a serving Army Captain and Team GB Paralympian, a professional kayak coach and the youngest British woman to summit Mount Everest. All will bring their own expertises but each will also face their own challenges along the way (Nick has no legs and Tori is 5′ 1” tall!).
The journey will be completed by sea kayaking, hand bike/road bike and a section of mountaineering over the Cairngorms plateaux, one of the most exposed mountain ranges in the UK.
A lot of work has been devoted to ensure this route is feasible. There are several sections of water that have never been crossed as a single journey before…
When linked together the various stages create one of the most committing and bizarrely obvious journeys possible within the UK! The kayaking will be by far the most committing part of the journey and makes up the bulk of the trip distance.
The team are proud to be supported by The Endeavour Fund and will be raising funds for BLESMA, the Limbless Verterans Charity.
Follow the beeline here www.beelinebritain.com

From one rowing boat to many…
The Great Pacific Race is the biggest, baddest human endurance challenge on the planet. Ocean row boats crewed by one, two or four compete against each other in the world’s first rowing race on the Pacific. On June 7th 2014 teams from around the world will set out on a 2,400 mile journey on the world’s largest ocean from Monterey, California to Honolulu, Hawaii. This epic journey is expected to take between 30 and 90 days depending on the size of the crew and the weather. Each boat carries no sails or engines and is only moved by the muscle of the crew pulling on the oars.
For more information on the race, you can find more information when the website www.greatpacificrace.com goes live very soon. Watch this space!

You can follow me, Charlie Martell on www.facebook.com and/or Twitter – @charliemartell1