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:

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




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’ (, who won the Pure Pairs Class


pic credit Ben Duffy


James, Liam, Stuart and James of ‘All Beans No Monkeys’ (

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!





Highs and Lows

Champagne at the finish!

Champagne at the finish for Beeline Britain!


The Great Pacific Race claims to be the biggest, baddest human endurance challenge on the planet, with ocean row boats crewed by one, two or four people competing against each other in the world’s first rowing race on the Pacific. It’s been an epic race so far for all classes with eight of the original thirteen boats still rowing, including just one solo boat being rowed by Britain’s own Elsa Hammond ( image by Jay Williams image by Jay Williams

Elsa is battling on, trying to get further west of mainland USA heading for Hawaii. Good luck Elsa! You can follow Elsa and the other crews via


After 4 years of hard work, planning, preparing, saving, training and bringing a dream to reality, Niall set off from New York aboard his solo ocean rowing boat ‘Alliance Trust’. NI had faced a number of ups a and downs over the years and indeed prior to departing from New York, but finally he was off… NI was making good steady progress east on his solo historic row towards Stornoway when he suffered an injury to his head and back.

From “At about 4.00pm on Friday afternoon, 9 days into my row, I had just finished stowing my oars and was getting ready to get into the cabin to get some sleep when I was hit by a wave on the starboard beam that caused me to lose my balance and fall. This wave just caught me unawares and the boat seemed to just drop down straight off the back of it, instead of sliding down, and this sudden jolt threw me into one of the oar storage stanchions, where I hit my head, and then I fell backwards into the footwell of the boat. It all happened very quickly and I knew instantly from the pain in my lower back that I was in trouble. The pain was such that it took me about 15 mins to actually get myself out of the footwell and sitting up on the side of the boat. I was in terrible pain and even the smallest movement was causing me to call out. It was clear that I wasn’t going to be able to continue rowing and that I may well have suffered a serious spinal injury. Given the circumstances, I felt that the only option was to call the Coastguard and ask for help.”

Niall Iain Macdonald

Niall Iain Macdonald

Having been recovered from an ocean myself, I know first hand how it feels to have put so much energy in to getting to the start point only to find that this time is not your time. Few words of comfort from others help, it’s a time to reflect and to wrangle with the feelings of disappointment. Personally, I felt I had let down everyone, my family, friends and my sponsors too. Time is a healer and that’s a fact. I have not forgotten the feelings, but I have come to terms with what happened. NI, I hope you too come to terms with the recent events, take stock and then decide what’s best for you. I wish you all the best my friend.


My previous life taught me to always end on a high so… Congratulations to Beeline Britain! The Beeline Britain Team of Ian O’Grady (RAF), Nick Beighton (RE), Adam Harmer and Tori James have completed the first ever ‘Land’s End to John O’Groat’s in a straight line’!

courtesy of

courtesy of

To learn more about Beeline Britain’s achievements and

Some pretty cool facts…

The Teams peak altitude was 1309m above sea level.

The fastest they travelled on their bikes was just over 50miles per hour.

They have covered a distance of around 1,300kilometres (if you include all the wiggles!)

Nick (double above knee amputee) has done over 1 million repetitions with his arms over the course of this trip.

Awesome effort Team, well done!

You can follow me, Charlie Martell on and on Twitter – @charliemartell1