British rower found dead on boat while attempting Atlantic charity challenge

<span>Michael Holt, who had type 1 diabetes, set out on the nearly 3,000-mile challenge on 27 January.</span><span>Photograph: UNPIXS/Needles and Pins</span>
Michael Holt, who had type 1 diabetes, set out on the nearly 3,000-mile challenge on 27 January.Photograph: UNPIXS/Needles and Pins

A British man has died while attempting to row between Gran Canaria and Barbados on a solo Atlantic Ocean charity challenge.

The family of Michael Holt, 54, who lived in Wirral, announced his death on his Facebook page.

Holt, who had type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes, set off on his nearly 3,000-mile challenge on 27 January, expecting it to take between 40 and 110 days.

It has now emerged that Holt became ill and died on his boat. His body was found by the crew of a fishing vessel which had sailed to his aid.

Holt’s brother, David, said on Facebook: “We have been working tirelessly to get help to Michael over the past four days but have found it incredibly difficult to do so. 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.

“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.

“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 & wishes that you have already sent us during the past few days. They mean a great deal to all the family.”

Holt was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 28. After a severe low blood sugar event in 2015 he needed reconstructive surgery on his shoulders with, he said, “a titanium fitting in my right arm and approximately 20 titanium pins and a plate being fitted in my left side. I have no recollection of any of the event taking place.”

He billed his challenge as “1 Diabetic Rower, 2 Reconstructed Shoulders, 3 Thousand Miles of Ocean”.

Holt was raising money for Mind Cymru and Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services, which said it was sending love to his family and friends.

Holt, from Porthmadog in north Wales, had been travelling alone on his boat, named Mynadd. He had faced challenges including a 3 metre shark having “a party” with his rudder.

Before a search and rescue operation was launched he was trying to make his own way to Cape Verde after becoming ill.