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The British Isles Challenge 2005

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In his 32ft Beneteau First yacht called Nephele, Keith set sail on his British Isles Challenge. The Challenge was to be the first 'single-handed' sailor (of course!) to sail solo around the British Isles and Ireland.

It was with the midnight tides on 8th June 2005 when Keith set off from Gillingham Marina in Kent. He headed up the River Medway, onto the Thames estuary and by day break he had turned left into the North Sea to head up the east coast toward Scotland. That's right, he turned left into the North Sea as his Challenge was to circumnavigate the Islands of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Eire ... anticlockwise. Which means, you're sailing against the wind all the way round: a real test of yachtsmanship.

Keith completed his British Isles Challenge arriving back at Gillingham Marina on 22 July 2005 having also raised some money in support of a number of charities. You can still make donations directly to any of those charities. Click on the Charity tab below.



Hats off and hooray for the RNLI

Hats off and hooray for the guys at Arranmore RNLI

But Keith's British Isles sailing adventure requires special mention of a drama that ensued. In the very early hours of the morning on 3 July 2005, out in the Atlantic Ocean between the Outer Hebridies and the coast of Northern Ireland (at approximately Lat 55° 43’ N, Long 09° 4’ W) and, some 8 hours sailing time from land: Keith was caught up in a gale force 11 storm.

ArranmoreRNLI  Lifeboat Crew During that frightful night, having lost radio contact with the Malin Head Coastguard, the RNLI Arranmore Lifeboat crew bravely ventured out to sea. Having found him at around 4 o'clock in the morning, and with the storm still raging around them, they waited for daybreak. At dawn, the RNLI towed Nephele with Keithstill aboard with his three broken ribs, to safety ashore where Keith received medical treatment; and the storm battered Nephele also got checked-in to the boatyard for some repairs too. After a fews days recuperating, Keith was back on board his beloved Nephele and continued his anti-clockwise British Isles Challenge undeterred.


The Charities

Thank you for your generosity

In the Press

Keith's British Isles Challenge in the press...

Click on a logo to read the full story

Donegal on Sunday Newspaper  LogoBy far the most comprehensive account of that eventful night appeared on the front page of the Donegal on Sunday in a report written by Nora Flanagan. Click the logo to read the full story.

Sun newspaper logoSome of the press reports make fun reading, for example, when the inimitable Sun Newspaper headlined a story 'KICK IN THE ROWLOCKS' on the 15 October 2005 reporting that Keith had "rowed" single-handed around Britain. Whilst the Sun report may conjure up amusing images Keith on the high seas in nothing but a rowing boat, Keith had sailed in his yacht. A yacht with a sail on which he had hand painted with a picture of Lord Nelson in honour of Lord Nelson and the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Battle of Trafalgar in Portsmouth, as the BBC reported on 6th June 2005.

BBC News Logo The BBC featured Keith's colourful Lord Nelson sail in its newsreport, but even the BBC reporters can get it wrong sometimes. Under the headline 'Diasabled Sailor to honour Nelson', they inadvertently reported that Keith lost the use of his arm in a motorbike accident which should have read that Keith lost the use of his arm in a motorway accident.

BBC News LogoThe BBC again reported on Keith's ordeal during the fiercesome storm on 3rd July 2005;

Irish Examiner Newpaper Logo and the Irish Examiner also reported on the incident.




Route Map

This map is an approximation of Keith's anticlockwise route around the islands of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Eire.

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