TWO Thornbury sailors have set sail on an ambitious trip circumnavigating Britain.
The Thornbury Sailing Club yachtsmen and dinghy sailors set sail from Weymouth on Saturday, May 31.
Jeremy Warren and Phil Kirk have been planning their epic voyage for over 18 months.
Their journey is 1,500 miles if measured directly, although in reality this is likely to be further. It is planned to be 10 three day journeys of 200 miles, with two nights at sea on each.
Their home for the next 60 days is a standard Wayfarer dinghy called Hafren, which is just five metres long, making for close quarters during the duration of their voyage.
It’s been heavily modified to suit the long-distance sail, but is still far from the usual vessel chartered for such voyages.
Such extreme sailing in dinghies has been very limited and the existing record for a circumnavigation is 78 days – a record the duo plan to shave 18 days off.
Between them, Mr Warren and Mr Kirk have notched up experience at sea as crews in nine Fastnet and Sydney to Hobart Ocean Races.
Speaking before he set sail, Mr Warren said: “Ocean racing is challenging in itself, and makes one realise the importance of safety at sea, but this dinghy challenge will be something different and equally challenging.”
They are travelling clockwise up the Irish Sea, west of the Isle of Man, dropping into Northern Ireland before moving around Scotland.
Hafren has been modified to prepare her for the voyage, with extra watertight bulkheads, as well as soft foam bonded to the floor so one man can sleep whilst the other continues sailing.
The boat has a fixed position locater that issues a signal and position every 10 minutes, so the shore support team in Thornbury can track their progress.
The sailing challenge is raising money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and PAPPA, which provides healthcare and education in southern India and is supported by Mr Warren’s village, Marshfield.
You can track the Thornbury sailors at www.xtremedinghycruising.com