Atlantic rowers adrift after they run out of oars

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The Independent Online

Two men trying to row across the Atlantic for charity are adrift in the middle of the ocean after all their oars broke in rough seas.

Robert Portal, an actor, and James Cash, a personal trainer, set off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on 5 December with the aim of rowing 3,000 miles to Barbados. So far they have lost six oars, the last of which snapped in a storm on 27 December. They have been stranded on their boat, Patience, while they await delivery of new oars by their support crew, hopefully on Sunday.

The oarsmen, who have almost no rowing experience, are raising funds for Facing the World, which provides reconstructive surgery for children in developing countries.

Portal, who appears in The King's Speech and The Iron Lady, decided to take up the challenge following the death of his friend and founder of Facing the World, Martin Kelly. The race normally takes between 50 and 60 days to complete, depending on the weather, and the pair are taking it in turns to row in two-hour shifts.