Gavin Millar completes 1000 nautical miles of his sailing canoe circumnavigation – but runs out of time

Gavin Millar leaves the Isle of May

‘Canoesailor’ Gavin Millar called a temporary halt to his sailing canoe circumnavigation of Great Britain last week.

After two and a half months of sailing his sabbatical was coming to an end, but he still reached Oban (he started from the Solent) and managed to clock up 1000 nautical miles in his Solway Dory sailing canoe. This seems to me to be a great achievement especially during this summer. He plans to return to the job next year, so let’s hope the weather is kinder next summer than it has been this year.

In his weblog Gavin reports that he would have liked to have sailed and paddled further, but given the conditions this summer he was happy to have made it to the West Coast of Scotland.

These two paragraphs seem to me to be particularly telling:

‘The physical and mental strains of sailing a very small boat alone on the North Sea in strong winds and large waves meant that there were times when I was close to giving up, and I confess there were times when I was very scared, but I’m glad I persisted with the voyage. I would not like to have missed many of the experiences of the last two and a half months.

‘I’ve seen much of Britain’s amazing coastline from a special “upclose” perspective usually only experienced by sea kayakers and a few intrepid dinghy sailors. I have many great memories, not the least of which are of the people I’ve met along the way and of the huge amount of support and generosity I’ve benefited from. So, huge thanks to all those who’ve been so kind and helpful.’

Characteristically modest, Gavin also says he hopes he will inspire someone with more time and courage to sail all the way round, adding that he feels he has made a passable attempt at following in the tradition of the Canoe Boys and John McGregor.

Well yes – of course he has!

I gather Gavin’s site will have more photos and more weblog entries from his voyage over time, and don’t forget that one of his aims in making the voyage is to raise funds for the hospitality industry benevolent organisation Hospitality Action. The Canoesailor website includes a link for making donations, and Gavin’s employers have kindly pledged to match every pound donated with a pound of their own to a maximum of £10,000.

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