Rob Pyne MP to Champion a Cairns man Malcolm Skelton’s mission to row across the Tasman sea for his wife’s life.

Rob Pyne has thrown his support behind an Earlville man who is planning to row across the Tasman sea in a bid to save his wife’s life.

Mr Pyne says: “Malcolm Skelton’s upcoming attempt to row across one of the most dangerous ocean crossings is a journey of love, determination and a fight for the life of his wife and other.”

Mr Skelton’s wife Sarah suffers a rare and progressive disease called Friedreich Ataxia which slowly destroys the nervous system. He hopes to raise awareness and funds to help in the battle against the disease and ultimately assist in the search for a cure.

Mr Pyne will Champion the cause, determined to raise awareness of the planned voyage and its cause.

“The fact that Mr Skelton is so driven to raise awareness and funds for this cause is inspiring,” Mr Pyne says.

Mr Skelton and a friend will attempt to be the first 2-man ocean rowboat to successfully cross the Tasman sea making landfall at New Zealand some 50 to 80 days later – depending on weather conditions. Mr Skelton is preparing to leave Coffs Harbor on the 29th of September.

“If I sit at home and do nothing – that’s my worst nightmare,” Mr Skelton says.

“I need to do this for my wife. It could save her life.”

“Every day is a battle.”

The amount of local support for the cause has been overwhelming. However, there’s a long way to go before reaching Mr Skelton’s financial target of two-hundred-and-fifty thousand dollars plus.

“It’s a dream come true to have the Cairns Sun and Rob Pyne throw their support behind us,” Mr Skelton says.


Mr Pyne is encouraging the local community to back the cause, and hopes finances will flow in from across the country and New Zealand alike.

“This is a very unique situation whereby a local man is literally going to be taking on some of the toughest nautical challenges in the world – in the hope of saving lives and raising awareness,” he says.

“He’s a brave man, and his wife Sarah, is a very brave woman.”

The journey will be shared via internet uploads – showing snippets of the voyage and the two men.

“People will be able track their progress via a link on the internet,” Mr Skelton says.

“I am pleased to be able to Champion this cause – which is literally a labour of love,” Mr Pyne says.

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  • commented 2016-08-12 18:55:47 +1000
    Thank you Mal and George for taking on such a huge challenge and Thank you @robpyne for helping make their endeavour famous!