Saturday, 26 November 2011

Liverpool /Tranmere sailing club, awards evening 2011

Achievement of the year :)

Monday, 24 October 2011

Conclusion !!

Eighteen months ago I was searching the internet for sailing around Britain challenges. I was getting very bored with day to day life and thinking that life's too short after the death of a friend and the loss of my business, I was also losing faith in human nature and wanted to see what else was out there!! I came across Nathan Whitworth, a man who sailed the east coast of England and produced a video diary and I could not stop watching it, this was the start of the dream, I was inspired.

I started to enquire and research information about the challenge of sailing around Britain single handed and realised that this was possible, even with my limited knowledge.

So, by mistake, I started telling people that I was going to sail around Britain and following an article in Practicle Boat Owner about my intentions, there was no turning back.

After the article in PBO, a gentleman called Phil (www.cowmansdream.com), called me and informed me that he was planning the same trip in April/May 2011. Over the next few months, Phil and I exchanged many phone calls and spent hours exchanging thoughts and feelings about the challenge. This proved priceless, as to share your thoughts with someone who was going through the same pre-challenge nerves was priceless.

I've always wanted to raise money for a charity and with suffering from Crohn's, I thought there was no better charity to raise money for. Then the phone calls started, trying to raise sponsorships and talking with the charity over the best ways to raise monies. Thank you to everyone who donated.

A close friend of mine, 'Dos' Christos, agreed to compile the website and once the website was up and running the interest started pouring in.

May 1st soon arrived and I found myself in Liverpool Lock saying 'bye' to friends and family, as the lock gates opened I thought to myself, "here goes" and as I passed the Liver Birds, I couldn't believe I had even got this far.. the rest is history.

The trip was everything I thought it would be and more. It scared the life out of me at times and there were moments I thought I wasn't going to survive the seas, but then there were times of absolute jubilation.

One of the most memorable things were the people I met, unbelievable generosity and help from strangers who would offer me meals, a shower and a bed, to a total stranger who they had never met before. Bags of shopping brought to the boat, lifts to shops, taken out for meals etc etc; the generosity goes on and on, thank you.

Towards the end of the Fourth month, I was ready for getting home as the weather had taken its toll on me and the stress and worry over the seas and weather was taking its effect. I contracted Shingles and my Crohn's was starting to play up and I just didn't feel brilliant.

I would like to say a massive thanks to the following people for their support and help as without their support this would not have been possible-

Solo sailors who I met on the way

Phil Ashwin (Hero and Sea wife) www.cowmansdream.com
Tom Webb (Legend) www.tomwebbsailing.co.uk
Ste (You know who you are)
Olly
Matthew Freestone

Everyone else

My Family - Hardakers, Arnolds and Usherwoods
Liverpool Marina
All sponsors
Lisa Stewart (constant support) and her family
Bonnie and Family
Peter Williams
TK and Parky and Dos
All Facebook followers
Mike and Wendy off October (thanks for your words of wisdom)
Heather and Paul (Thanks for keeping me occupied)
Malcom and Kate (Thanks for so much to mention)
Andy and Mandy
Walter (the one my dad owes a pint too)
Paul and Sam off White Tiger
Sarah and Colin Brown
Alan from Liverpool Marina
Paul Williams
Ian Jamieson
Dods family from Arbroath
Peter and Emma
Yvonne and Ian from Kerrera
Doug and Tracy
Dave and Heather (Weatherman)
Stuart Quick
Simon Gez and the other guy (Sorry about damaging your boat in the Round The Island Race)
John from Hartlepool
Paul from Milford
Richard and Janice (Shikara)
Orwell Yacht Club (Fred and Sue)
RNLI (Especially Paul from Fishguard)
Ellen MacArthur (Loan of charts)
Robin Knox Johnston (Support)
Coast Guards
Mad Jonny (Brighton)
Ben from Brighton Marina
Leslie Powel
RNLI Roderick (Girvan)
Grimsby people (not the ones who took Finley)
MDL Marinas
Premier Marinas
Yacht Haven Marinas
Universal Marina

I've probably forgotten loads of people and apologies to those I've missed.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Monday, 17 October 2011

Monday 17th October

Left IOM at 1600hrs and got a rope caught round my prop, after a time of deliberation, the only option was to strip off and jump in and try to cut the rope from around the prop (next time I must remember to tie myself to the boat !!!).

The night crossing wasn't nice as Zuma nearly got flattened a couple of times. I had to lock myself in the cabin and pray for good weather which came at about 0500hrs, which then pushed me into Liverpool to a fantastic welcome from friends and family.




....

I'm glad it's over but at the same time it was a fantastic trip with massive highs and lows and lots of good memories.

Over the next week I will compile the videos of the last two legs, with an oversight of the challenge

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Saturday 15th October 2011

I am leaving IOM at 1800hrs on route for Liverpool.

Hopefully be in Liverpool for Sunday :)))))

I'm so nervous and excited at the same time.. fingers crossed the crossing goes to plan...

Friday, 14 October 2011

Leg 30 Girvan to Portpatrick

Friday 14th October 2011

The end is in sight.

Planning to leave IOM at 2200hrs on Saturday night, hopefully arriving at Liverpool for 1300hrs on Sunday.

The forecast looks ok, providing the wind drops off on Saturday afternoon.

I'm so excited with mixed feelings about the challenge coming to an end, I can't wait to get home and see everyone and get back on land, however I will miss the adrenalin/fear and jubilation the challenge has given me....

I will confirm tomorrow, as to whether I am leaving or not ......

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

13th October 2011

Arrived in Douglas at 0200hrs and I am chuffed to bits.

I actually enjoyed the night sail, the full moon helped and the calm sea state.

The only tricky bit was the Mull of Galloway, but the choppy seas only lasted half an hour, thankfully, as I thought it was going to be a very uncomfortable leg to Douglas if it stayed as it was.

One more leg to go.

Bed time.

Local News

One man his boat... and parrot - Local Headlines - Carrick Gazette
www.carricktoday.co.uk

.

12th October 2011

Didn't sleep too well last night, only got about four hours sleep due to a mix of adrenalin and nerves.

Hopefully leaving for Douglas or Peel at 1500hrs today, for a night sail to my last stop before the home leg :)

Weather forecast looks good so fingers crossed I can find the courage to leave Portpatrick.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Still in Portpatrick

Finding the strength to leave harbours is becoming very hard.

I have decided to stay another day in Portpatrick as something / someone was telling me not to go, the winds are perfect however the sea state is moderate. It's probably because of the spring tides and it being the North Channel...

I feel like I'm 'wimping' out, but the last thing I wanted was to be knocked around in the dark getting into a harbour I have never been to.

The forecast is better for tomorrow, with clearish skies, dry and hopefully a better sea state.

I appreciate I have to take what weather windows I get now and turning one down is very fustrating and soul destroying..

I have really got to get myself together and get out there, it's so hard to drag yourself from safety into the unknown and trying to rely on a weather forecast that has been a bit inconsistent lately is testing.

This time tomorrow I hope I am on my way to Peel, as after tomorrow I face being stuck here for another week...and that cannot happen.

11th October

Harbour feaver setting in, forecast saying occasional rough seas at Isle of Man.

Deep breath time, I've gotto go for it today or at least try to get to Isle Of man. The winds are good but its just the sea state that concerns me.

Going to make a decision at 1200hrs.

Monday, 10 October 2011

10th October 2011

I don't want to speak too soon, but there seems to be an opening in the weather.

The plan is to leave Portpatrick at 1500hrs tomorrow (Tuesday) and arrive at Peel at 2400hrs, then leave Peel at 1600hrs on Wednesday for Liverpool, hopefully arriving at approximately 1300hrs..... weh hey !!!

I could be home this week.... watch this space...

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Saturday 8th October

I dont believe it, the weather today just does not relate to the weather forecasts that I was getting. The weather seems to be calming right down, but tomorrow is f6-f7. It's getting really hard to work out what the weather is going to do as the forecasts are all over the place.

I have got to be back in Liverpool by the end of the month as they are carrying out repairs to the lock gates during November, so I will not be able to gain access after October.

It's a game of patience !!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Friday 7th October

I am still in Portpatrick, still waiting for an opening in the weather.

Hopefully I will get a break next week.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Forecast


Feel like throwing towel in, the weather stinks !!!

Wednesday 12th

Wednesday 12th is not looking any good anymore, I don't know how long I can stay here getting tossed around all day and night.

There must be a weather window soon, this is getting fustrating.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Tuesday 4th October 2011

I am now becoming an expert at the crossword puzzle, chess and mine sweep....

Big winds expected tonight, south westerlies which are not good in this harbour, sea anchor has been placed off the boom and so many fenders I could bounce the boat home.

Wednesday 12th is looking good upto now, its a wee while off, but I have to have a possible date to look forward too.

keeping occupied is proving difficult atm.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Sunday 2nd October

Still in Portpatrick, checked weather forecast this morning and it said 28 knts south westerly at the Isle of Man with fog patches.
Well, thats the first time XC weather has messed up, because it was a perfect day to go :((

However my Nav instruments went down in the heavy rain yesterday and I got chance to fix them in the dry today and dry the boat and clothing.

Zuma has now circumnavigated Britain now as the previous owner informed me, that he had been to Portpatrick previously.

This challenge has not really been about the sailing/motoring or the navigation, the weather has been so hard to judge and its been an awful year weather wise, I watched the highlights of the Liverpool derby in the pub yesterday and couldn't believe the weather in Liverpool only 140 miles away.

Now hurricane Ophelia is hitting this week, Ive got to get a break soon to run home !!!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Saturday 1st October

Got to Portpatrick at 1200hrs, I think I have messed up and should have carried onto Peel as there are conflicting weather forecasts for tomorrow.

Portpatrick is lovely, but its a wall and with strong sw as forecast later in week it going to be a wee bit dodgy, gotto make a decision whether to run tomorrow for Peel.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Change of plan

The weather window has closed now and fog is forecast for Isle of Man, so taking into account the way Im feeling and the fact that I'm knackered, I think its wise not to try any epic ending and play it safe.
So hopefully a run down to Portpatrick or Bangor tomorrow.
So I won't be getting to Liverpool this weekend :(

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Going for It !!

I am thinking of giving it ago for Liverpool in one go from Girvan, leaving on Saturday morning arriving in Liverpool at approx 1500 hrs Sunday....

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

What next !!

Haven't been feeling too good lately and sores have appeared on my right leg, which are quite painful. So I decided to go to the doctors in Girvan only to find out I've got Shingles and the combination of Crohn's and shingles causes low blood count, which expains a few ailments :(((
Got to go back on Friday to get results from blood tests.
I hope this doesn't affect the challenge as I am so close to home.... Doh

28th September

Sun shining, not a cloud in the sky with 40mph winds :(

Hopefully leaving for Portpatrick on Saturday, providing the winds calm down, the forecast is giving F4 on Saturday with heavy rain and mist... Typical !!!

Beggers can't be choosers !!

Everyone seems to be getting their boats lifted out in Girvan for the winter, is this telling me something.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Girvan ;)

Finally got to Girvan at 2100hrs after a very eventful crossing.
The weather forecast didnt get it quite right and it decided to blow up F6-7 causing a very uncomfortable sea state.
Had to call the life boat out for another boat and stay with the other boat until they arrived.
Getting into Girvan in the pitch black was the scariest time so far, I just had to go for it and pray I got it right as its not the easiest entrance given the conditions.
I was so relieved to get in, I hugged the RNLI coxswain man, he must have thought I was crazy.
So glad have of made progress, however forecast is awful until Sunday :(

Troon 2 Cowdenbeath 4

Went to watch the Troon girls take on Cowdenbeath, fantatstic game in awful conditions.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Red sky at night, sailors delight


Going to try again tomorrow afternoon, for a sail into the early night to Girvan.

Ooops

After yesterdays disappointment of not getting to Girvan, I decided to drown my sorrows with copious amounts of alcohol. I met man in the pub that is living on his boat and proceeded to get quite drunk with him, John is in 70 but with the humour of a 16 year old,, anyway.......
I went for a shower this morning only to find John's shoes and clothes outside the shower cubical and I thought to myself this is my chance to have a laugh, so I filled a glass with ice cold water and chucked it over the shower door, only to hear very loud scottish schriek, followed by alot of swearing. This was a bit strange as John wasn't Scottish.
Then the shower door opened and a massive bloke stood there (not John) in the nude saying I dont know what happened then but a load of freezing cold water just came over me, as I was the only one in the shower block with him, what was I to do !!!
I first of all said " sorry, I thought you were someone else" but he didnt hear me, then thinking on my feet we both looked up and saw abit of the water that went on the ceiling and I proceeded to say it must of been a burst in the ceiling, to my amazement he agreed and went to tell the staff.
Afterwards we got talking and he made a donation to the charity, now I have guilt !!!! ;)

Saturday, 24 September 2011

24th September

To my disappointment I am back in Troon, the seas were not good and hadn't calmed down from the big winds last night, very uncomfortable.

Gutted..............these left over hurricanes from America are causing me problems.

Friday, 23 September 2011

23rd September

A wee break in the weather has appeared tomorrow afternoon (Saturday), so I am going to try and get to Girvan tomorrow, even though its going to be wind on the nose, but thats nothing new !!

Things to do in Troon when you're waiting for the weather !!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

22nd September

Glasgow was really nice yesterday, felt like a proper tourist on the open top bus in the driving wind and rain.

Weather forecast is still all over the place, however there may be a few small opportunities to run to Girvan over the weekend.

Laundrette today then off for a walk to the RNLI Station to see the coxswain I met at the wind fest on Saturday.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

WEH HEY

Weh hey, on a positive note a very very kind gentlemen has just donated 200 big ones to the charity :))) now thats better than shredded wheat and gin.

Thankyou so much.

£2545 raised to date, thats a gross figure of £3181.25

Thankyou so much to everyone who has gone to the effort to donate, it seriously keeps me going.

20th September

I have heard of harbour fever before and been told that harbours rot boats and sailors and I just thought it was a myth.

Today I think I am having my first harbour fever experience, I feel that I am losing my bottle, I am 'concerned' every time I leave harbour but the thought of the North Channel and the so varied weather reports is causing me big concerns this time.

I went for a walk to the beach today and looked over the seas and thought, jesus that looks so scary and then made the mistake of chatting to a local about these seas, only to be told some of the scariest stories Ive heard so far. (Im sure when he got home he must of told his wife that he had just frightened the life out of a scouser sailing around Britain with a parrot) !!!

Im finding that the longer you stay in a harbour the harder it is to get back out on the seas, I just need to get out there and just do it, instead of trying to find the perfect conditions. I seem to be getting more conservative the closer I get to home, on my first leg of the challenge I was getting 40 mph plus winds and it was ok, Caernarfon To Pwhelli was 33 mph on the nose, now anything more than a 25mph wind and I am staying put.
I know I have got to take Finley into account and that does make a wee difference as the wind can be blowing but the sea state has got to be good.

I think three shredded wheat for me and a large Gin, when I next sail.

Off to Glasgow tomorrow on the train to get away from the harbour and the boat and sea for a day.

Monday, 19 September 2011

19th September

Solitary confinement, comes to mind !!

The weather forecast is not looking good for ages and ages and ages.

Killing time for 5 months in a fibreglass shoe box is taking its toll now, I am taking about an hour in the shower, as long as I can to make breakfast, spending hours studying the weather, trying to find a slot to run for home, I am running out of things to keep me occupied.

Ive even offered a free labour service to Yatch Haven just to keep busy.

I never considered myself as a patient type of guy, however this is pushing any patience I have to the limit.

I could jump a train and go home for a week or two but I would consider that as failing so close to the end.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

17th September

I have decided to stay in Troon after advice from many including the RNLI, due to a deepening low coming in after tomorrow and Girvan and Portpatrick not being safe havens in strong winds.

I'm a little gutted as I was trying to get back for the 25th of this month, but it's not worth taking any risk's at this stage and the North Channel is not the most forgiving stretch of sea.

I have tomorrows entertainment sorted, as there is a wind festival competition on and I have offered a helping hand to the RYA on one of their safety ribs which should be good fun.

So here's to another week or so waiting for another low to pass, ( be patients they tell me) !!!!!!!

Leg 28 Ardrishaig to Troon via Largs

Thursday, 15 September 2011

15th September

Arrived at Troon at 1630 hrs.

This leg of the challenge was beautiful, calm winds and flat seas, dolphins, porpoise and seals.

Only a possible three more stops before Liverpool....

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

14th September

Woke to sunshine and calm winds and blue skies this morning.

Hopefully leaving for Troon tomorrow :)

Carried out checks on Zuma, everything looks ok, however the port side shroud has a very little kink in it, just below the spreader, there are no frayed wires so I will monitor it closely and get it looked at in Troon.

Roll on tomorrow.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

13th September

Hopefully the worst of Katia has now passed, it was quite scary at times but I am pleased to say no major damage to Zuma.

I am going to attach the canopy and main sail tomorrow as I am hoping to go to Troon on Thursday.

I don't know whether it's because the end is insight, but I'm getting very fustrated with the weather at the moment and sitting in the boat is becoming harder and harder, there is not a lot to do in Largs and the length of time I've been out here is taking its toll I think.

Inevitabley it seems to have a knock on effect on the Crohn's as it seems that when I get anxious it flares up, I just need to get sailing me thinks.

Roll on some decent weather .... please.

Leg 26 Oban to Crinan Canal

Monday, 12 September 2011

Leg 25 Caledonian to Oban, Including Parrot Sanctuary.

12th September

Well, we made it through the night with no damage.

Katia is starting to really blow now, there are 0.5m waves in the marina now and a few canopies are being removed. Hopefully the worst will be over in a few hours.

Its amazing to see the strength of Katia, fascinating. Im going for a walk along the beach, just to get the feel for the backend of a Hurricane as these lows are pretty rare.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

11th September

Woke this morning to find myself halfway up the starboard side of Zuma, she's heeled over a almost 30 degrees at times.

I don't think I have ever experienced winds and rain like this, its relentless and they say Monday and now Tuesday are going to get worse.

Zuma's getting an unfair slapping, thankfully I am not on a mooring as two boats have broken free already and are on the beach.

Thankfully I re-sealed the windows so she's keeping me dry, Im going back under the douvet with ear plugs in.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

10th September

Hurricane Katia is definitely on her way through, Zuma's got every rope on her I have,

Its going to get up to 67mph winds and I couldn't sleep last night with 38mph winds, so it looks like its going to be a fun filled few days.

So glad I got to Largs, as I have hidden Zuma behind a bigger boat to protect her, but Im going to be stuffed if the wind changes direction.

Bring it on Katia!!!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

8th September

Arrived at Largs at 1700 hrs, the weather was ok, its starting to blow up a bit now.

Its a massive marina with great facilities, unfortunately the weather for the next week is poor to say the least, so I might be stuck here for a week.

Zuma is getting lifted out tomorrow hopefully to get the new anode fitted and give her a rub down.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

7th June

After a lively night getting blown about there seems to be a wee opening in the weather. So I am going to attempt to get to Largs tomorrrow, the local fishing boats are talking of a big storm at the weekend, so I would rather be secure in Largs rather than here in Ardrishaig.

Caledonian Canal

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

6th September

Just got to Ardrishaig, even the Crinan Canal was tricky in 43mph gusts.

Looks like I am going to be stuck here for a while as the weather forecast is unbelievable for the next week or so, its forecasting f6 - f8 for a week. Time to lock down the hatches as its pretty exposed here and I am moored up next to the smelliest fishing boat ever.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

4th September

Just arrived back at Oban Marina after a great weekend taking journalists around the west coast sampling great food and excellent sailing in a Bavaria 42.

Leaving for Crinan in morning before storms hit on Tuesday, bit nervous as I hope the weather forecast is right and the storms hit Tuesday and not tomorrow.

It will be hard leaving Kerrera but hopefully it wont be long before I am back.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

1st September

Four months on Zuma today, the way its going I am going to win the title for slowest circumnavigation of Britain.

The parrot sanctuary was amazing, I helped out there on Wednesday and learnt so much about parrots, Finley stayed over last night and got spoilt to bits, he is now eating chicken bones, chicken, pomegranate, scrambled eggs and seems so happy with the change.

People told me when I took this challenge on that it would change my life and up to Tuesday I hadn't felt that it would until I arrived here, it's an amazing place and I would love to be a part of it.

Not only has the Parrot sanctuary blown me away, so has the island and it's inhabitants, I came across a beautiful property whilst out walking and to my amazement it's owned by the marina and they are looking to sell the property . It has not been inhabited for several years and it is exactly what I have been looking for.

Unfortunately out of the blue a Canadian millionaire called the marina today to say he was sending a surveyor out to survey the property. I was gutted I thought they were winding me up, however they think he might be after buying land with the property and I don't think they want to sell the land, so hopefully it won't go through.

I am delivering a yacht tomorrow to Tobermory, until Sunday to raise some funds as the pot is nearly empty.

Sorry for the delay with the Caledonian video, but it's been a crazy few days.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

31st August

Arrived in Oban at 1400hrs after a lovely passage.

Went to the parrot sanctuary and had the most amazing night. Yvonne and Ian are two of the kindest and most unbelievable people I have met on this trip.

I learnt so much about the behavour of parrots and also found out that Finley may well me a girl !!!!!

I was leaving tomorrow but I can not bring myself to leave as I am going to help at the sanctuary tomorrow as a wee thank you for the bags of gifts and food for Finley given by Yvonne and Ian.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Oban Marina

http://vimeo.com/24212614

28th August

Weather's not good, hopefully going to Oban on Tuesday and I really cannot wait to get there as I have just discovered something that has blown me away...

There is a sanctuary on the island of Kerrera which is where my next stop is, its website is www.parrotbehaviourconsultant.com
This place has just hit the spot with me, the work they do is simply unbelievable.

If you have a box of Kleenex tissues at the ready please look at their web site and even better make a donation.

Friday, 26 August 2011

26th August

Currently at the top of Neptune's Staircase.

Next stop the Atlantic Sea, Going to have a day off tomorrow and get Zuma ready for the seas again and hopefully be in Oban on Monday..

Weather forecast isn't looking too good for the weekend, but then again it is Bank Holiday weekend !!

Loved the Canal and I would recommend it to anyone who has the chance to 'sail' through it.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

25th August

Sorry for no updates, as there has been no internet connection.

I am currently in Loch Lochy, the canal is unbelievable, I never realised scenery like this existed in Britain.

Hoping to get some electricity and supplies as all the contents in my fridge have had to be discarded due to no fridge and food stocks are running low.

Next stop Neptunes Staircase..




Friday, 19 August 2011

First time for everything


I just dont know what came over me, ,,, getting it up was ok but then I had to get it down....

19th August

Arrived in Inverness at 1500 hrs, really uncomfortable crossing as wind on nose all the way, wind over tide.

So only managed to sail for half an hour getting out of Lossiemouth.

Had spinnaker up yesterdaY on route from Peterhead, Ive never seen it before as the thought of it scared me to death, never mind flying it, getting it up was ok, but then I had to figure out how to get it down.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Leg 21 Eyemouth to Arbroath

17th August

Eighteen years ago today my son Alex was born.

Happy Birthday Mate, hope to see you soon, missing you so much.....

Leaving for Lossiemouth at 0500 in morning.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

16th August

Decided to stay in Peterhead as strong winds are forcast for today and tomorrow, so going to miss out Whitehills and go to Lossiemouth on Thursday which should pull back a day.

Decided to jump in and give Zuma a clean and check all is in order below water, unfortunately my anode is missing from the shaft so I am going to have to either dry Zuma out somewhere or pay to get her lifted out at Inverness or Largs :( a bit of a set back as funds are running very low !!!












Monday, 15 August 2011

15th August

Arrived in Peterhead at 1400hrs after a sleepless night against the wall in Stonehaven, glad to be in a marina with electric and water.

Hopefully leaving for Whitehills in morning, fingers crossed.

Time to catch up with the lack of sleep....

Sunday, 14 August 2011

14th August

Arrived at Stonehaven at 1900 hrs, gusty sail for most of way.

Stonehaven is beautiful, amazing green cliff formations when entering harbour, only trouble
is I canny get of my boat as I am up against a wall (which is just like sandpaper) with no ladder so I canny have a look around.

Setting sail for Peterhead at 0630 hrs in morning, weather permitting.

Leaving Arbroath was hard as I met some lovely people, especially Dod's family for there kindness and the wonderful picture Kelsy drew for me.


Saturday, 13 August 2011

13th August

Had a good day in Arbroath, went to the Sea Feast in Arbroath which was really good, had a barbi on Zuma with some of the locals really good carnival feel to the harbour.

Hopefully leaving for Stonehaven in morning as a little break in weather as developed, enjoyed Arbroath..

Thursday, 11 August 2011

11th August

The weather was forecast was no good for today but when I eventually woke to check the weather forecast it looked ok apart from the lock gates being closed and the break in the weather for Friday has now gone to F7 so I have decided to stay for the Sea festival on Saturday and try and raise more monies and more awareness of the condition.

I think the only way to get to Inverness with the forecast is to do short trips, so the plan now is to leave for Montrose on Sunday then Stonehaven Monday and so on until I get to the Canal.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

10th August

The weather sucks, I was all prepared to set sail today to Stonehaven, I gave them a call just to say that I will be there today, only to be told to forget it as big choppy seas, almost impossible to get in and no space with boats being stuck there.....the low pressure is certainly dominating at the moment, so close to the canal yet so far.

On a positive note, a white pudding supper is tremendous !!

Monday, 8 August 2011

8th August

Stuck in Arbroath, weather a wee bit stormy so got my washing done,(clean bed sheets tonight :)) fixed the battery by adding water as cells were bone dry, shopping and found a pet shop for food for Finley as we were down to our last monkey nuts !!

Hopefully going to make a dash for it on Wednesday, desperate to get in Caledonian canal, only 154 mile to go to the canal..

Saturday, 6 August 2011

6th August

Arrived in Arbroath at 1800hrs after a lovely crossing being chased by some nasty weather, heaven's have opened in a big way. bed time..

Friday, 5 August 2011

Leg 20 Scarborough to Eyemouth via Hartlepool

Leg 19 Grimsby to Scarborough

5th August

Found internet connection in Eyemouth library, Weathers not so go at the moment, which has kept me in Eyemouth, hopefully leaving for Arbroath in the morning as there is a little weather window to get over there, after that its looking pretty awful for a week or so as storms are hitting Scotland, so it may be a wee stay in Arbroath...

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

3rd August 2011

Greetings from Scotland. Arrived at Eyemouth yesterday after a very misty crossing. Great to be in Scotland.

Was going to leave for Arbroath this morning, but a phone call from a fellow sailor put a stop to that due to heavy fog in Arbroath. However, lovely day in Eyemouth, hopefully leaving for Arbroath tomorrow morning, weather permitting.

No internet connection whatsoever, having to relay blog down the phone. Apologies for no video, as soon as the internet connection is available, videos will be posted.

Had my first langoustine today, slightly overrated if you ask me, more like a prawn on steroids or an aneorexic lobster!! But the cod later on made up for that. Great little fishing town.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Sunday 31st July

Left Hartlepool at 0630 hrs on-route for Amble with a southerly wind, by the time I got half way the sea's turned horrid as it started blowing from the east causing a nasty sea that if I am to be honest was a wee bit scary.
So good to get through it and not turn back or divert into Blyth.

I really would like to get to Eyemouth tomorrow but Im absolutely shattered and my Crohn's started to kick off a bit today, so, a day of sorting boat out and recharging myself.

Went to the Harbour Inn for the best Steak pie, chips and peas I've ever had and to my amazement the local postman (Tommy) gave me £20 for the charity and a passing Lass gave me £10... lovely welcome to Amble.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Saturday 30th July

Weh hey.....

Got to Harlepool, big sea's coming out of Scarborough soon woke me up, brilliant lively crossing with puffin's, guillemot's and dolphin, sun came out as soon as I arrived in marina.

Malcom and Kate on Cirrus Cat joined me for the leg which made it all that bit more enjoyable.

I thought Harlepool would have been very industrial, however, its a lovely place surrounded by bars and resturants.

The locals are called 'Monkey Hangers' for reasons described below:-

According to local folklore, the term originates from an incident in which a monkey was hanged in Hartlepool. During the Napoleonic wars, a French ship of the type chasse marée was wrecked off the coast of Hartlepool. The only survivor was a monkey, wearing a French uniform (allegedly)-(presumably to provide amusement for those on board the ship). On finding the monkey, some locals decided to hold an impromptu trial on the beach; since the monkey was unable to answer their questions, and many locals were unaware of what a Frenchman may look like, they concluded that the monkey was in fact a French spy. Just to make sure, the animal was thus sentenced to death and hanged from the mast of a fishing boat on the Headland.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Friday 29th July

Hopefully leaving for Hartlepool In morning.

Struggling to get internet connection, so appologies for delay in publishing latest video.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Wednesday 27th July

Weh hey,,,, Escaped Grimsby at 0400hrs this morning, now in sunny Scarborough.

A massive thanks to Emma and Pete for a fantastic welcome to Scarborough.

Bed time as I am cream krackered....

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Tuesday 26th July

Going to give it ago at leaving Grimsby tomorrow at 0400 hrs, weathers not perfect but I have just got to try, fingers crossed I should be in Scarborough by 1600 hrs.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Radio Interview

No sailing video's as I'm 'STUCK' in Grimsby, so here's a radio interview promoting Charity I did on Saturday.

How many times you can say 'absolutely' on radio :)

Monday 25th July

Tried to run for it this morning, but got to Spurn Head only to be welcomed by very rough sea's, impossible to make head way as northerly winds and big waves.

Turning back for Grimsby was a killer, looks like I am going to have to give it until Thursday, gutted.

Been stuck here for two weeks today, I'm so desperate to leave and get into blue water instead of murky shallow waters.

On a positive note, there are some really nice people in this marina and they couldn't be more helpfull.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Finleys return Itv

Weather


The red line means strong wind warning, possible to leave if wind is behind you but when its right at you, it would be like running into brickwalls every ten seconds, not ideal.

I need winds from the south !!

Friday 22nd July

Grimsby looks like its going to be my longest stay, 2 weeks on Monday and the weather doesnt look like its going to improve until early next week.

Fustrating to say the least, F8 gales tomorrow, I was tempted to leave today but a French boat has just arrived with a broken goose neck, due to the size of the waves.

The west and south coast are now perfect for sailing and the east is awful, I swear the bad weather is following me around, maybe clockwise would have been better.

The days are long and there is nothing to do apart from go to the club house and drink beer, at £1.40 a pint I think it could be worse.

Finleys on top form and has become quite a celebrity with the Humber Cruising Association, who have been so welcoming and helpful.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Return Of The FINLEY

Now ive come down to earth, I would like to say a massive thanks for all your support, I know the return of Finley would not of been possible without all your support xxx
WEH HEY !!!!

20th July

Guess whos got Finley..... ME ME ME ME

Time to get out of here !!!!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Finleys distinguishing feature

If you could pass this picture onto anyone that you think may help.

Finley's toe on his right foot is disfigured and a ring is on his right ankle. (easy way of distinguishing him)

19th July

I don't know when to leave Grimsby, the weathers ideal tomorrow but I am still getting occasional phone calls to Finleys whereabouts.

Finley is definately in an area around Oxford Street, but no body is coming forward and I don't know what more to do, whilst I am getting phone calls its hard to go, but I have to get round Scotland soon.

Its a hard one!!

Leg 18 Felixtowe - Grimsby via Lowestoft

ITV

19th July

The police say its not him :(((

19th July

omg, Humberside police have just been on, they cant tell me too much but they either have a parrot or know where one is, there going to look into it.
The police officer asked me what does he say and does he have a loud shreak, I said what he says but forgot about him saying 'shut up' and she said does he say 'shut up'. I went weak at the knees, Finley always said shut up..... pls pls

Monday, 18 July 2011

Last chance !!!

http://www.itv.com/yorkshire/fullprogramme/

Monday 18th July

Itv have been out and are running the story on itv Yorkshire tonight and hopefully Granada tonight or tomorrow.

I hope this gets Finley back as I dont know what to do if this doesn't bring him back.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Thank you

I am blown away by the emails and texts from everyone and the offers to add to the reward to get Finley back.

Your generosity and support is priceless and you will never realise the strength it gives me to continue this nightmare.

Thank you so much for all your support, it's comforting to know there are geniunely brilliant people out there..

Finley

Had another phone call saying the house I went to last night has the parrot, so I phoned the police and they took me around there but no Finley,
The police were good and drove me around to all the local boys and stated that the reward is now £1000 and no further action will be taken, we just want Finley back.

Im staying for a few more days, we must be getting close now....papers, tv, radio, flyers ... dont know what more to do....

Saturday, 16 July 2011

problems commenting

e mail - hardaker29@hotmail.com

Sat 16th July

Still no Finley, I had a phone call tipping me off about an African Grey in a house in Grimsby, but unfortunately the parrot wasn't Finley.

I believe its been on ITV today, I just dont know what else to do, or how long to hang around for !!!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Closer

Ive come so close today, I found out today that I actually walked past the lad who had finley inside his coat and the reason I never stopped him and asked is because he looked wiped out and had a man u football top on.(how stupid of me, more reason to dislike Man utd...) only if I'd stopped him all of this could be put to bed, so so close.

Ive been round to the local 'heads' today and they know of this Tyrone character and are going to give him a visit as they want the reward... and I have a few other people looking for me, so fingers crossed he might not be too far away.

15th July

Ive been out there looking again this morning, but to no avail.

Most people have left the marina as there was a little gap in the weather, but I couldnt bring myself to leave without Finley.

I think its just a matter of staying by the phone now with fingers crossed hoping I get a bit of good fortune.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Hope this works

Finley

Devistated, I left Finley out of his cage this morning as he was acting very quiet, then someone knocked on the boat I opened the hatch to greet them and forgot he was free in the boat, Finley then flew out and headed west towards a block of flats about a mile away.

I ran after him, climbing on buildings, calling him, then I got wind that a local had got him, I found the lad but he gave it to a gang of lads who then sold it on to someone else, Ive chased and chased after these lads to no avail, placed flyers all over Grimsby and I am getting alot of help off the locals as I have put up a substantial award for his return.

On a positive note if a can find one, at least hes not injured or getting battered by the seagulls.

I dont know what else to do, I cant really leave until Ive exhausted every avenue and I dont know whether to continue with the challenge.

Im gutted to say the least, I pray he comes back to me.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

12th July

Ive broke past the 1000 mile mark now :)

Arrived at Grimsby yesterday after an epic 164 mile sail (30 hours) from Felixstowe, stopped off at Lowestoft for a quick kip, then sailed through the night and arrived at Grimsby at 1500hrs.

Just got a cheque for £50.00 for the charity from a passer by, things like that give me a terrific lift, £1960.00 in charity now, lets try and take it over the £2000 before I leave for Scarborough on Thursday..

Saturday, 9 July 2011

9th July

Hopefully leaving for Lowestoft tomorrow morning 0530.

I would like to give a massive thanks to Richard and Janice off shikara for introducing me to Orwell Yacht Club and Fred and Sue, who filled me both with knowledge and fear... Thank you.

Leg 17 Dover to Felixstowe via Ramsgate

Leg 16 Eastbourne to Dover

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

6th July 2011

I now know were I was going wrong, walking into a local sailing club with a scouse accent and a pair of Adidas Marathons on isn't the best attire to a sailing club. So I have bit the bullet and purchased myself a pair of 'deck shoes' now I am an accomplished sailor despite my ability.






I must tell you about a 17 year old lad who has just pulled up in Woolverstone Marina, he also is sailing around Britain single handed, he is a brilliant lad with amazing courage, he's spinaker crazy and knows his stuff.
He's sailing around Britain for the Even Keel and RYA Sailability charities, which are two fantastic charities.

His web site is www.tomwebbsailing.com

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Posting comments.

A lot of people are telling me they're having problems posting comments. Can anyone help as I don't know how to rectify this situation ??

My mobile 07856 277386

Tuesday 5th July

Arrived at Felixstowe at 21.30 hours last night, after a very tricky leg, depths of water were less than shown on charts, therefore I can only presume that in the previous gails the sand banks had moved, not good.

Woolverstone Marina in five mile down the River Orwell, in a lovely surroundings. The weather is due to change for the worst tonight, so it may be a stay in Woolverstone until the low passes.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Sunday 3rd July

Arrived at Ramsgate at 15.00hrs after a very fast passage.

The spring tide worked with me until I attempted to enter Ramsgate, I literally had to steer away from the harbour in order to get pushed into port. Thankfully Zuma gritted her teeth and fought the tide and after a very dry mouth situation we got in.

Two boats hit buoys whilst entering which made the situation the scariest of the challenge. (even more than the lightning)

Leaving for Felixstowe tomorrow to take on the Thames Estuary, this is the leg thats been giving me concern since the early stages of planning this challenge, never mind the spring tides and it being the busiest shipping channel in the world and the sand banks the size of cities !!!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Saturday 2nd July 2011

Arrived at Dover at 1700 hrs, engine purrrred all the way, thank god.

I have contracted a terrible disease, the worse because you inflicted it on your friends. It is a disease of brain and mouth and is particularly prevalent among single-handers. It normally lasts for a several hours after a long passage and is called verbal diarrhoea. The brain keeps sending messages, 'for gods sake shut up, you are boring the pants of everyone' which the mouth refuses receive and continues to spew out garbage.

Ramsgate tomorrow (hopefully)

Friday, 1 July 2011

Thunderstruck !!!!

Friday 1st July

Arrived in Eastbourne at 1400hrs.

A lovely coastal sail today, gorgeous coast with amazing white cliffs, everything was going great until the engine started to play up just off Beachy Head, this was more scary than the lightning.

After I removed my head from my hands, it was tools out and fortunately after bleeding the system it seemed to be ok although I now smell like I have showered in diesel. Leaving for Dover tomorrow, I really hope I have cured the problem as its a leeshore wind with little wind, so it's a motor all the way.

They say it happens in threes, 1,lightning 2,engine 3, ??????????

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Leg 14 - Hamble River to Brighton via Portsmouth

30th June

Presently in Brighton planning on leaving for Eastbourne tomorrow morning.

This challenge has brought home to me the amount of genuinely nice people there are out there, Brighton Marina staff have been brilliant, they can't do enough to make your stay a pleasurable one, even down to Ed assisting me to the fuel pontoon, just simply brilliant.

Also, a massive thanks to Mick from West Marine Services Ltd, who helped me change the filters on Zuma foc, thank you so much, as I missed most of my MVE lessons in school and engines aren't my strong point!!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

28th June

Left Portsmouth at 0900 hrs, weather forecast looking okish, then the fun started, thunder and lightning and winds. Don't know whether I had a strike, plotter and auto pilot went down after a very, very loud crack immediately after the thunder, so it was down to good old chart work.

Arrived at Brighton at 2000hrs, fantastic welcome from Ben and Richard, just what I needed as I must have looked like a rabbit in the headlights. I showered then cooked the fresh mackerel I caught.

Bed now bloody knackered..

Monday, 27 June 2011

27th June

Arrived in Portsmouth at 17.00hrs, bit of a 'cyclonic' passage, but good to be here.

Haslar marina is very impressive.

Hopefully leaving for Brighton tomorrow.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

26th June 2011

At present I am currently in Hamble River, hoping to leave tomorrow if the fog lifts.

A massive thanks to a very impressive Universal Marina for waivering the mooring fees at a very busy time, in aid of the Charity.

Had a fantastic race yesterday in the Round the Island Race, until we parked our bow into another boat's cockpit and had to retire from the race at the Needles ;(

Thanks to Allybuzz (Simon,Jez and Warwick) for a fantastic opportunity.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Leaving Padstow



This video was taken by Bart de Bakker and Sietske Cnossen, as we all made a run from Padstow one early morning ages ago, they are going around Britain too, the easy way, clockwise ;)

I met them in padstow and hopefully plan to meet them on the East Coast.

Their Blog is http://folieadeuxopreis.blogspot.com

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Leg 11 - Brixham to Poole

Memorable moment !!

I have been fortunate enough to meet a true legend, moored up in Lymington.

Leslie Powles, three times round the world single handed, an absolutely amazing person. He heard about what I am doing and invited me onto his boat 'Solitaire' to have a chat over a cup a soup.

He gave me and signed copy of his book which I will truely treasure.

Thank you Leslie.


Born a coward, Leslie Powles claims, he saw no point in fighting - hence the title of the book, 'Hands Open' But god smiled benignly when the author who had never sailed in his life, decided to build a 34ft boat called Solitaire and take off single-handed around the world. He left Lymington after eight hours of sailing experience on his own. So ignorant was he when his boat was launched that he had not even the ability to put it on a mooring a few yards away.

Instead of finding the Caribbean he literally hit Brazil south of the equator. It was at that stage he decided he would have to salve his conscience by making a second circumnavigation after completing his first 34'000 mile east-to-west world voyage (August 18 1975 to April 30 1978).

The second circumnavigation, again from Lymington, this time non-stop, was the first west-to-east single-handed trip, 329 days and 28'496 miles alone at sea, rounding the five great capes including Cape Horn between July 9, 1980 and June 3 1981. This was the world's loneliest voyage without sighting land or communication (he was too poor to afford a radio transmitter).

For the last two months of his second trip he survived on a half a cup of rice a day, with a little milk powder and sugar added, and rainwater collected from the sail, losing 76lbs of body weight in the process.

21st June

Unbelievable weather, surely its got to ease soon, still in Lymington waiting for the break :)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

16th June

Two capsized yachts, empty rib and one missing yacht, all in the Solent.
Not the day for a sail.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Weh Hey

Left Poole at 1400hrs arrived at Lymington for 1900hrs.

Entering the Solent was interesting to say the least, fanstastic sail (Yes sail), in pretty shallow waters.

Dont really know were to go next, either Cowes, Portsmouth, Southampton or Chichester.

Hopefully get some time tomorrow to put together another Video.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Thursday, 9 June 2011

9th June

I am starting to get that Padstow feeling again, the weather is so changeable.

I was hoping to leave early tomorrow morning, but a strong wind warning has just been announced which is going to prevent the early start.

However, Friday night upto Saturday 1200hrs is looking ok, so it may call for a night sail, but those lobster pots are cause for concern with their black (yes Black !!) flags in the night, they're not the easiest to see at night.

If I dont leave tomorrow, it may be a long stay. Decisions decisions.

The trip was on radio Devon today, thanks to Brixham coastguard.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

8th June

Currently moored up in Brixham, weather forecast not great, might be a bit of a stay.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

5th June

Hopefully leaving for Brixham tomorrow at 1300hrs, provided F6 winds stay to the west.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Falmouth

Newlyn yesterday now Falmouth, its amazing what a bit of good weather can do for progress.

Lovely sail today, even if it was just in my Calvins, great to be in Falmouth and get a shower and finish the last of the mackerel off.

I'm hoping to get to Plymouth by tomorrow night then have a day off and try and put together a video of the last legs, some of the scenery has been breathtaking.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Finally

Finally escaped Padstow at 0500 hrs this morning.

Lands End was interesting to say the least, good crossing though :))))))

Arrived at Newlyn at 1900 hrs, hopefully setting off for Falmouth in the morning to take on the Lizard.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Almost time to leave !!

Finally a gap in the weather, it is looking like an early start on Wednesday morning for Newlyn :))))))

Its been a real test of patience but boats are now arriving at Padstow from France, so departure is imminent.

Even the local fishermen took pity on me and dropped me off a little present this afternoon, (finally some fish, and I didn't have to kill them ;)

I have scrubbed the boat down today as it was starting to look like the local chip shop bin, covered in fish and chips, pasties and crabbing bait, bank holiday attracts the crowds in Padstow.






Roll on Wednesday !!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Sod's Law.

Its looking like I will get around Lands End next week but when, I am not too sure.

The weather seems to be so confusing and the weather forecast prove that its all over the place.
A boat attempted to leave Padstow this morning only to return four hours later, with a wind blown crew.

Its sod's law that from Thursday onwards the wind changes to an easterly, just when I plan to hit the south coast but thats a week away and the way the weather fronts are, that could hopefully change.

I am becoming a bit of a weather anorak and I think I am making the mistake of looking at far too many weather web sites and analysing the weather too indepth. This next leg has got to be right, it is probably one of the trickiest of the challenge and when you're trying to avoid cabin fever and the only thing not letting you move is the weather, its difficult not to analyse the weather on an hourly basis.

Its all about the weather !!!

Leg 7 , Newlyn Marina (Milford) - Dale Bay - Padstow

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Still in Padstow

One week ago today I arrived in Padstow, if I stay any longer I will be getting charged council tax !!

I can finally see a break in the weather coming after the weekend, however the seas are going to have to calm down, so hopefully early next week I will be setting sail to Newlyn.

I am going to have to take on longer legs to recover the time lost but hopefully with a NW wind that should not be a problem and I aim to be at Dover for week commencing 20th June.

I would like to thank all the people who have gone to the effort to donate to the charity, its amazing to see the generosity and the lovely messages and emails. Thank you.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Patience !!

I thought this 'journey' would be a test of my stamina and my sailing abilities, but its proving to be a test of my patience.

The weather since I left Liverpool has been poor to say the least and progress has been affected, I am currently storm bound in Padstow, I was hoping to leave for Newlyn in the morning but the very little gap in the weather has closed, resulting in a potential long stay in Padstow.

The Padstow to Newlyn leg has so many parameters that have to be met, ie, sea state, wind direction, neaps or spring tides and all these have to be in the right state to enable a safe passage.

Its very fustrating as I am falling behind on schedule but when the local fishing boats wont go out I think thats a message to be taken, this west coast has been very trying and hopefully when I eventually get round to the south coast conditions will improve.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Friday, 20 May 2011

Crohn's and Colitis

I am now feeling like this is all so worthwhile, the amount of people who have stopped and chatted who have Crohn's disease is amazing, its so much a silent disease which people don't discuss. They see the banners on the boat and come over to chat and to talk to fellow sufferers is great. Some horrible stories though !! I can now see that there are 1 in 250 who have Crohn's and Colitis.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

May 19th

Left Dale Bay at 05.30 hrs this morning, had a good crossing (79 miles) and arrived at Padstow at 20.00 hrs.

There was not a great amount of wind, even though it was from the north west for a change, held a steady 5 knots, sea state was a bit scary though, massive rolling waves which Zuma rolled over thankfully !!

Had an amazing encounter with another pod of dolphins and hopefully got some really good footage, will try and post video of dolphins tomorrow.

Padstow is a gorgeous little place with showers, electric and great pasties, next stop south coast.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

15th May

Well I never expected to be at Neyland Yacht Haven today, but thankfully I never went back to bed this morning and I attempted another try and it was probably the best sail so far, wind on the beam for a change instead of right on my nose. I am so chuffed to be here.

Fishguard was ok but mainly a fishing port with very little facilities and a horrible wall, where as Neyland has the biggest Sunday roasts, wifi, showers and a lovely welcome.

I went through a stretch of water today called Ramsey Sound, an unbelievable stretch, the best I have ever sailed in, the boat reached 9.5 knots and there were whirl pools, springs, calm water, really something special.
(most avoid it, but Paul from the RNLI pointed me in the right direction).

I am learning on this 'journey' that there are going to be high times and low times, yesterday was a low moment to turn back and think I was going to be stuck in Fishguard until Thursday with no amenities, but you dig deep and today is a massive high.

Thank you to all that are following , it does make a difference..Weh Hey !!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

14th May

Arrived at Fishguard yesterday after a lumpy crossing, tied up against the dock wall.

Attempted to get to Milford this morning but had to turn back due to sea state and winds, the peninsulas are proving to be very hard to get around due the the crazy tidal movements.

So its back in Fishguard against the wall with no electricity, water or showers. I am thinking of moving onto a mooring as this wall has the potential to eat boats.

Going to try again in morning, fingers crossed the sea state might have calmed down...

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

11th May

Arrived at Aberystwth at 13.00 hours after an early start and after all the praise I was giving the autohelm, it decided to pack in just as I left Pwllheli, so its full time on the helm which makes things a little bit more tricky.

Hopefully leaving for Fishguard in the morning then onto Milford Haven, I could really do with getting to Milford by Friday as storms are coming in over this weekend.

About half a mile outside Aberystwth I was welcomed by a pod of Dolphins and decided to turn around an have a little play with them, they are an unbelievable animal. Video clips on next leg video.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Weather !!!

I been stuck in Pwllheli since Thursday now due to the weather, hopefully leaving at 05.30 in the morning for Aberystwth, but I am tempted to go to Fishguard and have a long sail and make some time up.
I have covered approximately 120 mile and I am into my second week, I ideally need to be covering about 200 miles a week, so a few longer legs may be required..

Sunday, 8 May 2011

8th May

I would like to say a massive thank you to Conway Marina for waivering the bearthing fees, what a lovely marina with spotless facilities, also Victoria Marina with more than helpful staff. Victoria Marina is in the process of being developed and has the potential to be a great stop off.

Lastly and by no means least, Pwllheli Marina for the help and support and fantastic facilities, especially Will for helping with my passage plan and Paul who helped me moor up and keep myself entertained with some good local information, including informing me of an island just outside the Marina that Bear Grylls owns and another owned by Carla Lane ..

6th May

Currently moored up in Pwllheli, going to probably stay for weekend as the weather is not looking so good, next leg to Aberystwyth.

Had an 'exciting sail' over from Caernarfon (Victoria Marina) in a 'lovely' force 6 in wet conditions, wind on the nose.

Glad to have conquered the Swellies, Caernarfon Bar and Bardsey Sound as these places were giving me sleepless nights.

1st Leg - Liverpool to Conwy



Thanks for a great send of and further thanks to all sponsors and everyone who helped make this happen.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Sunday 1st May

Weather permitting, I will be leaving Liverpool Marina Lock at 10.45 - 11.00 hrs on Sunday.

Up to now the weather is a bit up and down for Sunday, but fingers crossed it will be no worse than a force 6 easterly, if that's the case I am off for a wee trip around Britain..

Monday, 25 April 2011

Challenge Sponsors

1 week to go !!!

Now it is getting very real, Zuma is back in the water with all the sponsors on the hull, engine serviced. Which only leaves lazy jacks to be fitted along with sail bag and then a bit of a clean.

The generosity of everyone has been unbelievable with the charity now reaching a net figure of £1000.00. A massive thank you so much to everyone who has donated, helped, advised and generally supported the challenge.

I have just returned from a fantastic trip courtesy of Colin Brown (CB Marine Services) delivering a 47ft Bavaria Yacht from Oban to Barra in the Outer Hebrides, which really helped with finding my sea legs and last minute advice from Colin.

I have my last hospital appointment for three months (hopefully), which went well, Zuma will be like a floating pharmacy when I leave.

So, weather permitting it's all on course for leaving Liverpool Marina on Sunday at 10.30ish.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Priceless Help..

Three weeks this Sunday until the trip begins and I am busier than ever.

The press release in Yachting Monthly was picked up by a Scottish Lass who goes by the name of Sarah Brown, who's brother suffers from Crohn's disease.

Sarah has been a MASSIVE help and is currently pulling in every favour she can to enable mass publicity and support for the trip and for the Charity.

To top that her husband Colin has a company, CB Marine Services http://www.cbmarineservices.co.uk. and has offered to help with chart work and anything regarding the running of the boat. Priceless !!

Press releases are now happening as well.

JMU PRESS RELEASE :-

http://www.jmu-journalism.org.uk/#/news-431/4547594420.

With a massive thanks to Mr Deveney


YACHTING MONTHLY PRESS RELEASE :-


Its all getting exciting !!!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Its all go go go.

37 Days 13 Hours 26 Minutes 10 Seconds to go.......

The time is flying and with every day that passes my excitement / nerves increase having a wee knock on effect on my Crohn's at the moment, god help me on the day :)

Everything seems to be going to plan though, sponsors are coming forward with amazing offers and Liverpool Marina are now 'onboard' as the sponsor for the journey. Currently the sponsors' logos are being incorporated into designs on the hull of Zuma, which is very exciting.

Zuma is due to be lifted out on the 8th April to be scraped down, and anti fouled and all the art work placed on the hull, then when she's back in the water, an engine service and fit the lazy jacks and then she's nearly ready to go...

Its all becoming very very real now and I simply can't wait to go.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

62 Days 16 Hours 54 Minutes 16 Seconds To Go ...

The Web Site is now up and running, with a massive thanks to Christos from Shroom Studio who's dedicated his time and effort to compiling the Web Site.

http://www.paulhardakersailing.co.uk/


Just over two months to go before commencement of the round Britain Sail and the nerves are setting in already.

Unfortunately the Liverpool Boat Show has been cancelled, which will have a detrimental effect on the target to be raised for the charity, as I was hoping to use the boat show as a way of gaining maximum publicity for the charity and subsequent raising of money.

Besides the bad news about the boat show everything else has been going great, I've now purchased some essential items such as a chart plotter RC400, fridge and sailing boots. I have have received some very nice gifts, firstly all the west coast and half of the south coast charts along with new anchor chain, donated by Kenny and Linda from Liverpool Marina. Also Rob has kindly provided Bosuns chair, generator, pare fenders, battery charger, new ocean going coat and waterproof trousers, 100m of quality rope, spare charts, battery charger, spare shackles and bits and bobs. Thank you very much.

Also on the sponsor side of the trip, GJW, a boat insurance company from Liverpool, have reduced my insurance premium as a way of donating. Pets Pantry of Old Swan have kindly agreed to supply all the food and essentials for Finlay on the trip and donate to the charity, in return for advertising space on the sides of Zuma.

So all in all things are looking pretty good, apart from the boat show being cancelled. Currently I am in the process of trying to find some larger sponsors for the trip, but this is proving hard with the current economic climate being the way it is, but I am still hopeful.

Thank you so much to the people who have already donated to the charity, its breath taking to see the generosity of people.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Four months and counting !!!

Well, its not long to go now, I am currently getting routes, marinas, sponsors, loans of equipment and various other tasks completed, theres a lot more to do than I thought and it's almost turning into a full time job !!!.

Christos has jumped onboard (not literally) from Shroom Studio and is currently designing a web site which is fantastic news and a great help to raise awareness for the Crohn's and Colitis Charity.

I am currently phoning around manufacturers asking if they can lend me some equipment that I am short of, in return for advertising space on Zuma.

My wish list includes :-

Fuel, clothing, Autohelm, Charts, Wind turbine, Epirb, and if I am really lucky a radar system and plotter.

These will only be required for the trip and will be returned when I get back at the end of July 2011.

Everything else is going to plan and I'm just ticking the days off the calendar.

My route has now been provisionally plotted, but may change due to weather and winds.

Practise sail