OK - we're looking at most of (rather than all of) mainland Britain... and limited window of opportunity (a 3 month sabbatical c/o a supportive employer)... but Gavin Millar's about to join the ranks of Circumnavigation of Britain 2012 - attempts.
Here's his introduction from elsewhere:
GavinM wrote:Around the 5th of June, weather permitting, I hope to set out from home, near the Solent, on an attempt to sail and paddle solo round most of mainland Britain in a sailing canoe. I say "most" of mainland Britain because in the three months I have available it will not be possible to go all the way round - but I just might be able to return to my starting point by "keeping left" for three months and crossing the Highlands of Scotland via the Caledonian Canal. This is a little over 2,000 miles (or about 1,800 nautical miles).
I expect the voyage to be challenging at times and, allowing for days ashore due to bad weather or for rest, I will need to maintain an average daily run of about 25 to 30 nautical miles. Keeping this pace up for three months will be physically and mentally demanding. Also, navigating the coastal waters of Britain in a small open boat, 16' long by 40' wide with no engine, is not without its risks. So I'll need to exercise caution at times and it's by no means certain I'll be able to get all the way round as prolonged spells of bad weather could lead to long delays. However, I am determined to try and am sure it will be a memorable experience, whatever the outcome.
There is a website, www.canoesailor.com, where there is some background information about the voyage, my boat and a blog. I hope to be able to update the blog and upload photos on the way round.
A sailing canoe, specially designed for the voyage, has been built by Solway Dory who have made several modifications to their Shearwater sailing canoe design, so as to increase suitability for long offshore passages. Some of the design features include; an extra long crowned foredeck with coaming to shed waves, additional storage in large buoyancy tanks and a cockpit shape suitable for occasionally sleeping aboard under a small boom tent. I expect to paddle when there is no wind and to "paddle sail" (paddling and sailing at the same time) in light winds.
Setting off on this solo adventure will be a bit of an act of faith - severely testing my capabilities and dependent on support from friends, acquaintances and strangers to help me out along the way by doing things like; helping me organise a bit of shopping for supplies, or offering a night under a roof now and then so I can recharge my batteries (electronic, physical and mental). A bit of company on the water sometimes would also be good. So if any experienced coastal paddlers or sailors with suitably designed and equipped boats would like to accompany me for a day of two please get in touch.
As a warm up for the expedition I recently paddled and sailed round the Isle of Wight. Paddling through a Starlit Night and off to the Races - 25th March is an account of this round the Island voyage and describes some of the challenges of coastal sailing and paddling.
I will also be raising money for a charity called Hospitality Action which offers support and vital assistance for those who work, or have worked in the Hospitality and Catering Industries. Many have been helped by Hospitality Action, including those who may have experienced life-long debilitating illnesses, poverty, bereavement, domestic violence, or have sick or disabled children. www.canoesailor.com has a link to "Just Giving" where it is possible to donate on line. I chose this charity because they do great work, the company I work for has strong links with the Catering and Hospitality industries and because I previously worked in this sector.
Above is a video I put together from a few slides Gavin had assembled...
I've been trying to help out with the above-mentioned blog, which contains an introduction to Gavin, to his canoe, Stacey and to my rather less glamorous role.
A few initial posts from the blog:
- Round the Isle of Wight by sailing canoe – March 2012
- My 2012 Challenge
- Preparations – More purchases!
- Gavin and Stacey’s First Sail
- Saying goodbye to Astrid…
- Boom Tent
- Spot Messenger Activated!
- Finding time for preparations
...and some key links:
There's also more discussion at the CanoeSailor Facebook Page:
I'm trusting some on here will find this all of interest and will enjoy tracking his progress: I certainly am. Feel free to ask questions here: I'm usually browsing this site at least once a day.... and will endeavour to answer what I can and to get answers from elsewhere when I'm unsure :)