A string of events has forced Adrian Flanagan to postpone global challenge 11/9/06

Adrian Flanagan has been forced to postpone the final phase of his Alpha Global Expedition. Flanagan, 45 of Ludgershall near Oxford, set sail from Falmouth on 28 October last year in his quest to sail the first singlehanded ‘vertical’ circumnavigation but 10 and a half months on, after a succession of misfortunes, he’s decided he’ll now have to wait until next year to complete his voyage.

Flanagan’s big problems started with gear failure to Barrabas (his 11m stainless steel sloop) as a result of a storm off Cape Horn see previous news story here . A 10-day pitstop in Honolulu to carry out emergency repairs was followed by another forced stop in Nome in Alaska to repair ongoing propeller shaft problems see previous news story here. Then difficulties in obtaining permission to enter Russian waters led to a delay which finally spelt the end of Flanagan’s journey for this year.

Although the Russian authorities recently agreed to allow Flanagan to attempt the transit without an ice-pilot, interpreter or escort new ice has already started to form and it’s now too late to make an attempt this year. Commenting Flanagan said: “This decision by the Russian authorities shows courage, vision and imagination. For that, I praise them. I believe they see and understand the unique nature of the voyage I am making.

“My intention is to return in June 2007, in good time to make preparations. Sometimes it is harder to make the decision not to press on. I have to be pragmatic. There is little merit in taking unnecessary risks.”

Flanagan has become only the 15th sailor to make a singlehanded westabout rounding of Cape Horn against prevailing winds and currents. He has also recorded the first singlehanded, non-stop and unassisted passage between the UK and Hawaii when he arrived at Honolulu’s Waikiki Yacht Club on 7 May after 18,000 miles.

During his trip Flanagan dislocated both his wrists and suffered a near dislocation of his right shoulder. He narrowly missed hurricane force winds at Cape Horn in January. Early during the expedition, Flanagan was washed overboard in severe conditions without his lifeline attached to the boat. Flanagan concluded: “I was certain that was the end. A wave placed me back on the boat. If miracles do happen, then that wave certainly qualifies.”