Friday, July 01, 2011
Seventeen-year-old Tom Webb is poised to sail solo round Britain in his Hyde Sails-powered Beneteau First 211 'Danera'.
Tom believes sailing is a sport to be enjoyed by people of all abilities and to highlight the opportunities in sailing, particularly for disabled young people, on July 2 he will set off on his solo sail round Britain. Tom explains: 'In doing the challenge I want to show my support for three fantastic charities: Phil Packer's British Inspiration Trust (BRIT), Even Keel and RYA Sailability at Langstone SC. Phil Packer is one of the most inspirational people I have met, who has an incredible mission with BRIT to create a centre of inspiration for disabled young people in the Chichester area. Also, as a young person I want to challenge myself by drawing from the inspiration of the young disabled people I have met through the Even Keel sailing charity. They have challenges just in their daily lives, but also strive to set themselves new goals.'
Tom Webb has been on and around boats all his life. 'My first dinghy was a bright yellow wooden Mirror dinghy,' he recalls. 'I then moved to Toppers and more recently I started racing a 420. Over the last couple of years I have been really lucky to have worked with the Even Keel Project and have taken part in racing events with them, including the fantastic Artemis Even Keel Challenge at Cowes in 2010. 'This was where his solo sailing started: 'During this time I was becoming motivated to push my singlehanded ambitionss, I began to explore the idea of sailing around Britain. Through some luck, and the sale of the family Iroquois catamaran in 2009,"'Danera" was bought as a yacht on which I could get experience of singlehanded keelboat sailing with a sail around Britain in the Summer of 2011 in mind.'
The Boat and Sails
'Danera' is a 21ft drop keel monohull. 'It's a fast boat that wouldn't be other people's first choice when sailing round Britain,' says Tom, 'Although hard work to keep going, she is rewarding to sail in all weather. She's topped out at 13 knots planing down a wave with the kite up - but I don't intend to push any where near as hard for the trip!' His new sails are from Hyde: "The new fully battened main and genoa are a fantastic addition to the boat, they provide the power and durability needed for long passages, but still give great responsive performance for racing around the cans.'
Starting from Portsmouth on July 2, Tom will sail anti-clockwise stopping at 28 ports along the way. He will sail through the Caledonian canal, rather than round the top of Scotland as the trip needs to fit into his summer break between college and university. ‘I will be sailing on average eight hours a day and hope to complete the trip in one and a half months.’