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 (, 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)
Tom Webb (Legend)
Ste (You know who you are)
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


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


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.