This afternoon at 1300 Adrian Flanagan set off from Hamble Point Marina on a single handed circumnavigation with a difference.
This afternoon at 1300 Adrian Flanagan set off from Hamble Point Marina to sail round the world. Another day, another solo circumnavigation of the globe you might say, but Adrian Flanagan’s planned trip round the world has one big difference. Flanagan plans to sail into the record books by taking a route which some say doesn’t even exist, via the North East passage through the arctic region – a passage covered in ice for much of the year.
Just moments before he set sail, I managed to grab a few words with the man who hopes to take after his childhood heroes Sir Francis Chichester and Sir Chay Blyth in choosing a unique route around the globe.
“I am feeling very apprehensive now” he admits, “it’s a huge thing that I’m taking on, the way I deal with it is by just thinking from day to day and minute to minute.” It is perhaps for this reason that when I ask him what worries him most about the trip that will involve not only rounding the notoriously dangerous Cape Horn, but also navigating himself through the arctic, ice melt permitting, he replies ” I am most worried about getting out of the Channel, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.”
The yacht,Barrabas, is a Trireme 38 Mk IV, designed by Francoise Charpentier and built completely by hand from stainless steel. She was chosen particularly for the Alpha Global Expedition for her strength and was first launched in 1991. Although Flanagan has next to no experience of single handed sailing, mentally, he has been preparing for the trip for thirty years. After reading about the voyage of Sir Francis Chichester as a fifteen year old boy, he has dreamed of making his own circumnavigation of the globe. He has done a lot of short-handed sailing but nothing that comes close to the journey he is proposing and asBarrabashas been in refit almost since he acquired her, he has little experience of his boat either.
Flanagan accepts that it will take a while to settle in to the journey but is confident that his “sheer determination and perseverance” will get him through. He has obviously consulted the weather charts for the next few days but he is not worried. “It’s a bit blowy but the weather is what it is and I’m going to get a lot worse weather on the way round.” His strategy for the trip is not to stress the rig “I’m under no time constraints, I don’t want to stress the boat, so I’ll have a few reefs in the main.”
He has spoken at length with some of the most experienced arctic sailors, Sir Robin Knox-Johnson and Eric Brossier have supported him with his campaign. “The problem is that there aren’t a lot of people with a lot of experience in arctic sailing” Flanagan explains, and understandably so. There is also the political element to his proposed voyage, to get permissions from the Russian government to navigate the North East passage which may or may not be granted when he reaches the Beiring Strait.