THE Idle rowers crossing the Atlantic have been battling big waves, a snapped oar and water coming on board as the weather turned nasty.

James Tordoff and Chris Nicholl are less than 800 nautical miles from the Caribbean after having set off from The Canaries a month ago in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

In the past week they have reported surfing nine knot waves the size of a house and then rolling waves which made it hard to steer and row, a broken oar and rain and waves causing 8in of water in the boat.

A Facebook post reported that they are working hard to maintain 19th position overall and third in the pairs after covering 1,960 nautical miles.

The pair are raising money for Centrepoint, Bradford Hospitals' Trust and the Ben car charity.

Lead Safety Officer Ian Couch said there had been two knockdowns – when a boat goes onto its side but does not fully capsize, a capsize which self righted and some broken oars.

He reported: "There has been a number of squalls and rain showers which has washed the Saharan sand off the boats at the rear of the fleet but has made drying anything impossible.

"A large number of the rowers have been hit by flying fish which comes as a rude awakening when you are quietly rowing along.

"With one crew due to finish in about a week and others with about 8 weeks left to go it is easy to see just how tough this challenge is. Physically, mentally, technically and emotionally and never consistent. The rowers have highs and lows and extremes sometimes all within a few hours."