Spare a thought for the solo sailors out there all alone on Christmas Day

There are at least seven solo sailors, and for all I know more, out at sea alone this Christmas. Here are all the skippers I can think of, what they are doing and why. Hats off to them as we tuck into another helping of turkey.

Robin Knox-Johnston – With battered mainsail, dwindling supplies of food and fuel and all out of whiskey, Fremantle surely can’t come too soon for RKJ.

Graham Dalton – The New Zealander has been keeping his counsel on the Velux 5 Oceans, and this race appears more and more of an intensely private mission. But Graham is a battler and there will be little self-pity or self-indulgence as he, too, races for Fremantle

Unai Basurko – The Basque sailor has had his woes on the same race, rudder problems among them, and his circuitous route is a great puzzle. But all credit to him: he’s still going.

Donna Lange – The American grandmother and former nurse left New Zealand last month on the second part of her round the world voyage across the Southern Ocean. She is sailing a minuscule 28ft Southern Cross yacht, named Inspired Insanity, on a circumnavigation that is part spiritual quest.

Ken Barnes – “Hello, my name is Ken Barnes. I am 47 years old. I was born and raised in Southern California and no, I am not crazy.” Ken is at about 51°S and heading for Round Cape Horn in his yacht Privateer, a Maurice Griffiths designed 44ft staysail ketch.

Maud de Fontenoy –The young French adventurer is deep in the Southern Ocean, about halfway between Cape Horn and New Zealand in Jean-Luc Van Den Heede’s record-breaking aluminium sloop. She is making a solo circumnavigation, though not a traditional record, and this her 72nd day alone since leaving Mauritius.

Mike Perham – The 14-year-old from Britain is sailing alone across the Atlantic in a 28ft trailer sailor called Cheeky Monkey, accompanied by his Dad in a sistership. Mike will possibly have the loneliest but most exciting Christmas of them all.