2018 World Rowing Coastal Championships, Victoria BC Canada

Guernsey rower crosses Indian Ocean en route to 2018 WRCC

A rower from the Guernsey Rowing Club is heading to the 2018 World Rowing Coastal Championships just a few weeks after completing a crossing of the Indian Ocean in 70 days.

James Plumley was part of a crew of four British men taking part in Indian Ocean Row 2018. Their main goal was to raise awareness, money and complete research for Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease.

Plumley and his best friend Anthony Brewer are long-time coastal competitors. They first rowed at the Guernsey World Champs test event back in 2006. Since then they’ve competed at six more, often recognisable by their highly fashionable green shirt and yellow trousers combo.

Plumley was supposed to be best man at Brewer’s wedding, right after crossing the Indian Ocean.

“Unfortunately we had several parts fail when the boat arrived in Australia so we departed three weeks late, then we were hit by large storms and our progress was despairingly slow for the first month. I gave up on making the wedding. Fate was playing a cruel game with us and at times I regained hope only for the weather to change and dash them again.”

“In the final three weeks we had to average over 64 miles a day, something we had only done on a handful of days. It would be a miracle. The weather improved and we started flying. It was going to be really close. I asked my brother to book the last possible flight from Mauritius. We ended up landing seven hours before the flight and I flew back to the island of Guernsey where we are from and arrived at 11.15 am to make Anthony’s wedding at 12!”

The two will be rowing together in Canada in the CM2X.


Crew member Robin Buttery was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease in June 2015 just before his 44th birthday.  He was not a rower before his adventure on the Indian Ocean.


Crew members Billy and Barry had crossed the Pacific a few years ago and Plumley has a world record for rowing around the UK in a crew of four.

Their boat is called ‘No Great Shakes’

Here are a few highlights from their journey:

We had to wear full wet weather gear for most of our crossing, not because of the weather, but because the sea had an annoying habit of being in the boat. Barry is the rower in the front and Billy is closest to the camera. Every time that we took a big hit the rower in front would turn and give the rower behind a thumbs up to make sure that everything was ok. As you can see, Barry was a bit premature with his first thumbs up this time….


It wasn’t all about waves trying to turn us over during the row. We had some of the marine life pop by to say hello from time to time as well.

The amazing part was that we couldn’t even see the whales that were literally a few meters away when they were underwater. It was only when they came up for air that we realised they were there and it makes us wonder just how much more we missed……


The crew hopes to continue to raise money and awareness about Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease.

Some final words from Robin Buttery:

“The reason for my involvement in this challenge remains the same. I feel privileged to be given the opportunity of a lifetime to do something good, to make a statement and help a greater and bigger cause.

I feel that I have moved forward in a quest to find out more about Parkinson’s Disease, leaving me with hope that one day there will be a cure or prevention.”

Donations are still being accepted at www.ior18.com


Contact us

Renting a boat: rentaboat@wrcc2018.com
Media Inquiries: media@wrcc2018.com


Rowing Association
5100 Patricia Bay Highway,
Victoria BC V8Y 2T6
Contact Person
Brenda Taylor: askus@wrcc2018.com
Press Officer
Nancy Russell: media@wrcc2018.com