Fundraiser launched to return home British father found dead on boat four weeks into 3,000-mile Atlantic ocean row

27 February 2024, 17:49

Michael Holt, 54, from the Wirral, was found dead in the boat 700 miles into the charity challenge off the coast of Cape Verde, west Africa
Michael Holt, 54, from the Wirral, was found dead in the boat 700 miles into the charity challenge off the coast of Cape Verde, west Africa. Picture: Facebook

By Christian Oliver

A fundraiser has been launched to repatriate a British father who was found dead in the cabin of his boat after taking on a 3,000-mile rowing challenge across the Atlantic Ocean.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Michael Holt, 54, from the Wirral, was found dead in the boat 700 miles into the charity challenge off the coast of Cape Verde, west Africa, earlier this week.

Now a fundraiser with a £20,000 goal has been launched to "get Michael home" to his family in the UK.

"It's not particularly simple and it's an expensive operation," the GoFundMe page read. "The full extent of the costs is not known at this stage, however if there happens to be a surplus, then these funds will be donated to the charities that Michael was supporting."

Over £8,000 has been raised to repatriate the father of one from Cape Verde, which was set up by Barry Hayes, who had been helping the rowing enthusiast document his expedition on social media.

Michael Holt's boat, containing his body, was taken to the Cape Verde islands by the boat Noruego
Michael Holt's boat, containing his body, was taken to the Cape Verde islands by the boat Noruego. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Teacher who had sex with pupil, 17, in lay-by after school dance admits she 'made some bad choices'

Read More: Cyclist reports driver for using mobile phone at the wheel - but police accuse him of breaking the law

Prior to his death, Mr Holt told friends and family that he had been struggling with severe seasickness, for which he was taking medication. He was also a type-1 diabetic.

The rowing enthusiast - who was expected to take between 50 and 110 days to cross the Atlantic - set off on his enormous journey on January 27 and was en route from Gran Canaria to Barbados at the time of his passing.

Before falling ill, Mr Holt had already battled brutal winds in his rowing boat, losing an oar, and having a shark attack his rudder.

Announcing the sad news on Mr Holt's Facebook page, where his supporters and friends had been keeping up with his journey, his brother David explained how they had worked with local coast guard and rescue services after losing contact with him for some days.

"Last night the fishing vessel Noruego accepted a tasking from Cape Verde Joint Rescue Coordination Centre and made directly for Michael's coordinates. Very sadly, upon arrival, Michael was found dead inside his cabin," they announced.

"Of course this was not the ultimate conclusion we were looking for, but I am somewhat comforted knowing he died doing something he absolutely wanted to do with a passion and managed to row in excess of 700 miles in the process. An achievement in itself."

Michael Holt's 'True Blue' ocean rowing boat
Michael Holt's 'True Blue' ocean rowing boat. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Divers search for bodies of Sydney couple allegedly shot dead by police officer

Read More: Stan Bowles, QPR legend and former England 'maverick' footballer, dies aged 75 after battle with Alzheimer's

"This is a huge shock to myself, his wife Lynne & daughter Scarlett and my parents, not to mention wider family and friends.

"Many thanks for the kind words and wishes that you have already sent us during the past few days. They mean a great deal to all the family."

Mr Holt had been raising money for mental health charity Mind and the Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services.

The father, who was originally from Porthmadog, North Wales, had spent two years training for the enormous journey.

It comes a year after Mr Holt also rowed solo across the Irish Sea from Porthmadog Harbour to Wicklow in the Republic of Ireland.

The brutal and repetitive rowing action caused him to require reconstructive surgery on his shoulders. Some 20 titanium rods were placed in his body as part of the surgery.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Plans have been drawn up for an evacuation of Brits from the Middle East. Defence Secretary Grant Shapps (l) and protesters outside the British Embassy in Tehran (r)

Brits living in the Middle East could be rescued by the Royal Marines in 'Dunkirk-style' evacuation

The knifeman who killed six people in a rampage at a Sydney shopping centre has been named as 40-year-old Joel Cauchi (left)

Pictured: Sydney knifeman, 40, who killed six people before being shot dead by brave policewoman

Iranian drones and missiles have arrived in Israel with explosions in the skies - as officials warn of a "significant response" to the massive attack.

Explosions in skies and sirens across Jerusalem amid Iranian attack - as Israel warns of 'significant response'

USS Bataan which is heading to the Eastern Mediterranean (main) and Joe Biden (r)

US sends amphibious warship and 2,500 Marines into the Eastern Mediterranean after Iran attacks Israel

US and UK forces are helping defend Israel from Iranian drones and missiles after a massive attack was launched.

British and American jets 'shoot down Iranian drones' as Rishi Sunak slams Iran for 'reckless' attack against Israel

President Biden is holding an emergency national security meeting as the US prepares its response to Iran's drone and missile attack on Israel.

President Biden holds high-stakes emergency meeting as Iran launches full-scale attack on Israel

Iron Dome Rocket Interceptions of Hamas Rockets- Southern Israel- Night Attack On Ashdod City

Israel closes airspace as it braces for Iranian drone attack

Iranian attack drones are 'en route to Israel', according to an Israeli Defence Force spokesperson.

Iran launches massive drone and missile attack on Israel as war in Middle East escalates

A mother who was stabbed while trying to defend her baby from the Sydney shopping centre knifeman has been pictured for the first time.

Pictured: Mother, 38, killed defending her baby from Sydney shopping centre massacre

Nearly 18,000 police officers were hired virtually by forces, prompting fears of another Wayne Couzens, LBC can reveal.

Nearly 18,000 police officers hired without face-to-face interviews by forces prompting fears of new Wayne Couzens

Lee Anderson's wife has been suspended by the Conservative party after being allegedly spotted campaigning for her husband's party Reform UK.

Lee Anderson's Tory councillor wife suspended from party after appearing to campaign for Reform in Ashfield

Election 2024 Decision Notes Alaska Wyoming

Biden wins Wyoming’s caucuses as eyes turn to Alaskan democrats

Hormuz incident

Iranian forces seize container ship near Strait of Hormuz

Russia Ukraine

Ukraine military chief warns of ‘significantly’ worsening battlefield situation

Obit Schappell Twins

Oldest living conjoined twins, Lori and George Schappell, die aged 62

Gordon Ramsay has been given a 'Kitchen Nightmare' as squatter moved into his £13m pub in central London.

Kitchen Nightmare! Gordon Ramsay's £13m plush central London pub invaded by squatters