Gibraltar Chronicle Logo
Local News

Rowing Marine is all set to resume trans-Atlantic challenge

Lee Spencer, the Rowing Marine, has resolved his boat’s technical issues and is set to leave Gran Canaria tomorrow at noon having also fully recovered from a bout of sea sickness.

Eleven days ago, Mr Spencer was hit with sickness and technical issues with his AIS. In a bid to fix it he obtained technical support over the phone but it transpired that he needed hands-on help so he rowed into Las Palmas in Gran Canaria on Tuesday.

In addition to the technical issues it was also revealed that his boat has a leak in the hull, which is presently getting repaired.

If the weather is on his side, Mr Spencer is set to leave Gran Canaria tomorrow. Despite feeling luck has not gone his way so far on his challenge he is still upbeat and optimistic.

His Guinness Book of Records bid to become not only the world’s first physically disabled person to row solo and unsupported from mainland Europe to mainland South America but to also “smash, not break” the able-bodied record of 96 days, is still to play for.

Officials have deemed the record is still attainable as Mr Spencer had to stop for technical, necessary reasons. However, the clock is still ticking so he is eager to get back in the water and rowing again.

Ultimately though, the record is not the sole aim of this challenge.

Mr Spencer said he would relish having the record certificate on his wall – “it’s either that or pics of my ugly children,” he joked – but said the voyage was about something much deeper and important to him.

“It’s not about the paper, but the message,” he told the Chronicle yesterday.

He believes if he gets the time record he will have achieved all he set out to do, but by simply crossing the Atlantic Ocean he is showing that people are “not defined by disability”, and that anyone can achieve their goals.

Having departed on Gibraltar on January 8 as the symbolic start to his epic solo unaided row to French Guiana, he officially started the record the following day when he left Portimao in Portugal.

Mr Spencer was in good spirits and was feeling strong.

He explained that due to the upcoming row he piled on the weight in preparation, but that this had left him feeling sluggish and unhealthy. He has lost a stone in weight so far and is feeling a lot better for it, he said.

When Mr Spencer arrived in Gran Canaria he was greeted by his wife, Claire, who had flown out from the UK.

She told the Chronicle: “It’s great to see him but I have got to say good bye again, it’s like adding salt to the wound. But, I’m so glad to see him.”

She also added that at least the remaining part of his row is shorter as he has covered a lot of ground, or more to the point, water already.

Also visiting Mr Spencer was previous row buddy on another Atlantic crossing Cayle Royce, a double amputee.

His presence was a complete surprise to Mr Spencer who said: “It’s amazing he came out here. He has been helping. I didn’t ask him to come, he just surprised me.”

Rugby legend Ivor Morgan also flew to Gran Canaria to see Mr Spencer and has been giving the Rowing Marine pep talks.
“I am so blessed with everyone’s help,” Mr Spencer said.

Mr Spencer is aiming to raise awareness and money for the Royal Marines Charity and the Endeavour Fund.

Further information can be found at For donations please visit

Most Read

Download The App On The iOS Store