Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In 30 Seconds My Row Was Over - Fergus "Gussie" Farrell on a Transatlantic Medevac

17th July 2022
Fergus “Gussie” Farrell was medically evacuated from his transatlantic rowing challenge
Fergus “Gussie” Farrell was medically evacuated from his transatlantic rowing challenge Credit: via Facebook

Former rugby player Fergus “Gussie” Farrell who was medically evacuated from rowing vessel Cushlamachree 600 nautical miles out in the Atlantic late last month has said he is gutted at having had to leave his rowing partner Damian Browne.

Speaking on RTÉ Seascapes on Friday, Farrell has also paid tribute to the master and crew of the Singapore flagged tanker, Hafnia Shenzhen, which responded to a US Coast Guard request for assistance.

The tanker diverted, and Farrell was brought on board using the gangplank, and taken to the medical room for further assessment.

Farrell’s oxygen levels had dropped to 86 per cent on June 26th, and he was at risk of blood clots.

He described on Seascapes how his online medical support took just 30 seconds to assess the information and inform him his row was “finished”.

The pair were 13 days out from New York on an unsupported row to Galway, and were attempting to set a new Guinness world record in their purpose-built Seasabre 6.2m craft.

Fergus Farrell prepares to board the ship Hafnia ShenzhenFergus Farrell prepares to leave Cushlamachree and board the tanker Hafnia Shenzhen Photo: via Facebook

Farrell survived a traumatic spinal injury in 2018, learned to walk again and walked across Ireland to raise funds for the National Rehabilitation Hospital of Ireland Foundation in 2019.

The Hafnia Shenzhen took him to New York where he was taken to hospital for further tests and cleared to fly back to Ireland.

Browne is continuing the row solo to Galway as part of Project Empower, in aid of four charities, and has three oars left after he capsized three times.

Speaking on a Linked In post while on para-anchor for 17 hours, Browne said he had “no interest in capsizing again” but was a “sitting duck” in huge waves.

The position of rowing vessel Cushlamachree on July 17The position of rowing vessel Cushlamachree on July 17 with Damian Browne onboard

He said the boat was “decimated”, with the ocean ripping away oars and he nearly lost his seat.

He lost items including a -jet boil, ten-litre drinking container and compass.

He said it was the first time that he was “a little bit scared for expedition’s success”, with so much water in the cabin after the capsizes.

These are “very very very long hours”, he said, and the lyrics of a Johnny Cash song kept coming into his head – as in "Son, this world is rough, And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough"

“We’ll see how we go,” Browne said.

Listen to Fergus Farrell’s interview on Seascapes here

Published in Coastal Rowing
Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

Email The Author

Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Search and Rescue: True stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116 (2022); Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004); and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010). She is also co-producer with Sarah Blake of the Doc on One "Miracle in Galway Bay" which recently won a Celtic Media Award

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2022

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating