So what’s your sailing plan for 2020? More sailing? Learning new skills? Visiting new places? Well here’s a little insight into the 2020 sailing plans for Yoda, my RS Aero, which all seem to be determined by numbers... time to start counting.
The first number is the biggest one 50,000. It’s not my sail number, but it is the £50,000 target I’m trying to raise for two amazing charity causes, Cancer Research and Oakhaven Hospice. Big numbers need big adventures and this number is so large it turns out I need 2 adventures.
The first part of this sailing adventure was Race To Scotland in 2017. An epic journey across the length of Britain in Yoda that generated lots of numbers:
• 865 miles of sailing
• 180 hours on an RS Aero (so glad of that padding)
• 4 capsizes (glad that was a small number)
• 2 RNLI rescues (nothing to see here)
• 6 coastguard units
• Millions of jellyfish
• £37,000 raised
Numbers have a habit of leading on to other numbers. The last number in the list above leads me to Yoda’s next number - 13,000 – the amount of money I still needed to raise. So time for a new adventure and a new number.
183, that’s how many islands there are in England/Wales and the latest adventure is to attempt to become the first dinghy to sail around all those islands. With tidal challenges, a lack of obvious landing and launching sites and the ever-present unpredictability of the British weather it’s a challenge and a half – and I guess that’s why no-one has ever done it. So how is it progressing?
Well after the 423 miles of sailing Yoda has managed to circumnavigate 78 islands. The final mileage total is likely to be well in excess of 1000 miles – that’s a really long way in a dinghy.
In 2019 130 was the target number of islands I hoped to sail around in one year. Unfortunately, the pathway of adventure sailing is never straight forward and many things conspired against me. Firstly (and mainly) the weather, followed by harbour refurbishments, ferries full of racing gigs and even roadworks. Consequently, the final number for 2019 was 66 - still a respectable effort for your average dinghy sailor – which to be honest is all I am, an average dinghy sailor. For 2020 Yoda is going large and targeting 86 islands in the year, which probably means I’ll only sail around 40, but it’s good to dream.
Amongst all these sailing numbers one of my favourites is a small number, the number 2, it means that I have two pieces of almost every bit of my Rooster sailing gear, thanks to the kind support of Steve and everyone at the Rooster team. Consequently, I get to put on dry(ish) clothes most days when I’m on multiple day trips and without sounding like a “softie adventurer”. It’s one of the few home comforts I really appreciate when you are out there pushing the boundaries of dinghy adventure.
One number I won’t see in my 2020 sailing plans is 3. When you are away adventure sailing so much you need to find a balance with home life. Consequently racing round 3 marks has disappeared from my world for now. Do I miss it? Well I know I miss my friends at the sailing club, the friendly race banter and the chance to learn from others, but I’ve found that since starting adventure sailing the outcome of a race seems really inconsequential to me. Races just seem to lack the challenge and reward of sailing from unusual places, around varied scenery and gaining that pure pleasure of a mission achieved. I’m sure in the future I will return to racing, but for now, the freedom of sailing in this way feels liberating and I’m enjoying it more than ever before. Knowing that sailing is making a difference in peoples lives in need is the biggest motivator to get out on the water.
As we all know miscounting is a common issue and at the moment. I’m still continuing to discover new islands, so 183 is starting to look like an underestimate. That’s a positive in the fact that I’ve got more new exciting places to visit and challenges to take on. But it’s a negative in that the finishing post for this challenge seems to be going further and further away from me. I’m not sure what the ultimate figure will be, but at the moment it’s looking to be in the 200 plus bracket – and that’s a lot of dizzy sailing.
And my final number for 2020? Well, hopefully, it is 2021. That’s when I intend to finally finish this marathon dinghy sailing challenge. By then I hope to have rounded over 200 islands, sailed over a 1,000 miles and most importantly raised £50,000 for two life-changing charities.
What are your numbers for 2020?
Find out more about the adventure at www.yodare.co.uk
and @goyodare on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter