ROYAL NAVY MORALE BOOSTER FOR SOLO YACHTSMAN

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HMS Mersey in company with SY Barrabas.

HMS Mersey, one of the Royal Navy’s newest Offshore Patrol Vessels currently undertaking Fishery Protection duties in the North Sea, was able to make a morale boosting visit to lone British yachtsman Adrian Flanagan on Fri evening.

Flanagan (47) is undertaking a world first with his single-handed, vertical circumnavigation of the globe westwards via Cape Horn and the Russian Arctic and hopes to sail his 38 ft stainless steel sloop Barrabas back home to the Hamble later this week.

HMS Mersey’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Alan Wilson Royal Navy, said:

‘I am really pleased that HMS Mersey had the opportunity to meet up with Adrian on the final leg of his momentous journey around the world. As a fellow seafarer I have the utmost respect for what he has achieved, particularly as it is all for charity. Adrian looked on fine form and his morale was obviously very high. Everyone on board is delighted that they could contribute towards Adrian’s chosen charities and wish him the very best for his return to Southampton next week.’

Find out more about HMS Mersey at:
http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/server/show/nav.00h00100100800c008005

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AGX Position Update

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Adrian emailed:

“Good morning – position at 0700 UCT: 54.44 north, 00.05 west. Going well. Winds arrived as expected – now making 5.3 knots nose to target. “

Current forecasts for the next four days are looking good although the North Sea is notorious for its sudden mood changes.

The wind kicked in yesterday a little later than expected but is now as forecast. Under present conditions, Barrabas will be visible from the shore for much of the remaining distance back home to the Solent. Adrian is expected to ‘cut the corner’ as he approaches the Wash to reduce distance and to avoid the sand banks. He may be visible again from the North Norfolk coast and is expected to work close in from Winterton Point, following the shore line in past Caister, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Southwold and Aldeburgh. On this section he will come within a few hundred metres of the shore and Barrabas is highly visible in her unpainted stainless steel construction with the bright red survival dinghy lashed to the foredeck.

For those intending to go out to meet Adrian as he passes, please give him sea room but he will be delighted to see you.

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ROYAL SOUTHERN YACHT CLUB SET TO WELCOME ADRIAN FLANAGAN INTO HAMBLE

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Lone sailor, Adrian Flanagan, is set to arrive in Hamble next Wednesday having completed the first ever single-handed vertical circumnavigation of the globe, westwards via Cape Horn and the Russian Arctic.

Members of the Royal Southern Yacht Club are looking forward to welcoming Adrian back to the River Hamble, from where he set sail in October 2005 in his 11 metre sloop rigged yacht, Barrabas.

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AGX Position Update

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Posn at 0550uct 16th may 56.08 north 00.43 west.ax

Current forecasts are looking good but weather is of course subject to change.

If conditions hold as expected, Adrian will be bringing Barrabas very close in to the shore from Winterton Point to Aldeburgh on Sunday, expecting to pass Great Yarmouth around 0500 hrs. Distance off-shore is likely to be less than 400 metres for most of this transit and the shiny stainless steel Barrabas with the bright red survival dinghy on her foredeck should be very easy to spot.

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AGX Position Update

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56.40 N 01.02 W

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With forecast weather conditions for tomorrow introducing some uncertainty, Barrabas is still expected to pass close to the East Anglian coast between Gt Yarmouth and Aldeburg during the weekend

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Mixed emotions as the end draws near

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Fixing a boom breaker line that had parted during a storm in the Norwegian Sean

Entering UK territorial waters bought a comfort similar to a favourite blanket – even the place names on the Shetland Islands conjured a soothing familiarity – Sullom Voe, Muckle Flugga, Lerwick. No more grappling with unpronounceable Russian or tongue-twisting Norwegian (even though some of the names in the Hebrides may have Viking origins). I am past the Shetlands
now, south of them that is and past Fair Isle. The Orkneys are on my right, below the horizon. I am closer to London than some northern UK dwellers. That kind of abstract thought raises morale not that morale needs too much feeding with the third day of following winds which are set to continue driving me south at a good lick.

Last night I spoke to the coastguard on the Shetlands. I needed sleep – could they tell me what shipping was in the area? I’d spotted three trawlers and two ships during the day. Not every vessel showed up on Radar they said – I stayed awake through the night. It was a good time to think. My thoughts and feelings are changing, morphing as the end nears. I sail the boat, attend to routine maintenance but my mind is more occupied with the sensation of change. A hugely important chapter in my life is drawing towards its end and with it comes a peculiar juxtaposition – a rising euphoria set against the ebb of impending loss. The euphoria is easy to understand, the loss less so. Perhaps it’s the ending of this profound experience that I have shared with Barrabas or the ending of that special relationship which can only ever be manifested out on the open sea. Sir
Francis Chichester apparently hated Gipsy Moth IV. Perhaps. It’s difficult to know how a boat which has carried a man around the earth cannot then own a part of his essence, for that ownership to be willingly handed over with a dollop of love and gratitude. I wonder how Chichester or indeed Sir Robin Knox-Johnston or Sir Chay Blyth or the grandfather of single-handed circumnavigations Joshua Slocum felt as they approached home, only days away from stepping ashore? Similar feelings I suspect, a kaleidoscope of competing emotion. These men and others were true pioneers, stepping into what was then the unknown in terms of human isolation and endurance. Today there is inevitably less opportunity for such discovery but Barrabas has carved her own unique track around the world. Perhaps that is where my sense of loss originates, in stopping doing what no-one else has ever done before.

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