Two brothers were attempting a Weymouth to Jersey challenge

Two charity rowers were rescued by Alderney’s lifeboat

crew after getting into difficulties in shipping lanes 20 miles north west of

the island.


army sergeant Nick Townsend 30, who almost died in a Taliban attack was

embarking on a sponsored rowing attempt from

Weymouth to Jersey with his brother Jason Rice, 44.  

The Portsmouth pair were

raising funds for the Help for Heroes charity, which helped Nick

after he suffered shrapnel blast wounds in 2007 while on duty in Afghanistan.

Boat designer Jason built the ocean-going vessel and the rowing brothers set

off from Weymouth at 6am on the 6 June, hoping to arrive in

Jersey within 36 hours.

However they got into difficulties and set off two flares as a distress call, which was picked up by nearby vessels, which alerted the authorities.


RNLI Trent class lifeboat was launched at 8am on

Friday, 7 June, and arrived on scene at 9.30am and towed the

vessel and two rowers to Alderney Harbour, arriving at 11.40am.
Jason said: ‘All went well to start with, there

were a few minor teething problems which were resolved and as we

progresses across the Channel we made good time, covering 90 miles in 28


‘By 9pm yesterday evening the weather deteriorated and there

were 6 foot swells with no visibility.’

Nick added: ‘We

rowed for an hour with an hour break on and off all night.


navigation went down and our lights went out and so at day break we

realised that we were off course and that it would be impossible to get

back on track.

‘So we made a distress call by launching two flares. A

nearby cargo ship must have notified the French Navy as a French Navy

plane flew over us, shortly after we were picked up by the Alderney RNLI

lifeboat crew.’

‘We are really grateful to have crossed the

Channel as we have achieved what we aimed to do with the help of the

RNLI getting us to the Channel Islands.

‘We are sure that everyone

realises the difficult conditions you can encounter at sea.

‘The whole

aim was to raise money for Help the Heroes, whilst it is a shame that we

did not get to Jersey, at least we made it to Alderney.

‘Many thanks to the volunteer Alderney RNLI lifeboat crew for their amazing service and quick response.’

The rowers will be flying back to the UK.

(Pictures show the charity challengers before departure

The Alderney lifeboat. Credit: RNLI

The rowing boat being rescued by the Alderney lifeboat. Credit: Chris Rees)