A FUNDRAISER has been launched to bring home the body of a man who died whilst rowing solo across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain’s Gran Canaria to Barbados.

Michael Holt, 54, originally from Porthmadog, but had been living in the Wirral, was rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic. He set off on January 25, 2024, from Gran Canaria in his boat ‘True Blue’.

The voyage was expected to take 55 days ending in Port St Charles in Barbados.

Michael, who had who had Type 1 diabetes, was raising money for Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services (LCVS) which works to support Liverpool’s voluntary communities. 

Michael was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1997, and in 2015, was involved in a self-inflicted incident which resulted in double reconstructed shoulder surgery. This was because of a major low blood sugar hypoglycaemic attack (Hypo).

It is understood that Michael became ill last week and was making his way to Cape Verde when communication with the 54-year-old stopped. 

The fundraiser, set up by Barry Hayes, on behalf of David Holt - Michael's brother, said: "This is a fundraiser to support the repatriation of Michael Holt from Cape Verde, to his family in the UK.

"Michael passed away whilst rowing solo across the Atlantic Ocean from Gran Canaria to Barbados. As a type one diabetic, this was both ground breaking, and incredibly inspiring.

"It also brought with it an increased element of risk. He took considerable measures to limit any issues (a 12v fridge built into his boat for his insulin, automatic blood monitoring in his arm, 24 hour telephone support, etc), but the risk was such, that he was uninsurable. When you operate in the most extreme end of the possible, this is common.

"Michael knew all of this, but as his friends and family will attest, he was passionate, and stubborn as a mule - rowing an ocean solo was something that gave him drive and focus. This was something he wanted to do.


"Around 700 miles into his crossing, Michael stopped communicating with his land support team. A search and rescue operation found him deceased in his cabin, and he was towed to Cape Verde.

"Now the family need to get Michael home. It's not particularly simple and it's an expensive operation. 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."

David posted on Michael's Facebook page on Sunday, February 25: "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 and 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."

To support the fundraiser, visit https://gofund.me/26fa2a49 

More than £6,000 has already been raised. 

The gofundme has a target of £20,000.