Why am I motoring if I say I’m sailing round Britain?

Post date: Jun 29, 2015 5:18:15 PM

I feel I owe you an explanation. Because my challenge is definitely “Dom’s Round Britain SAIL”. And, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll have noticed that I’ve been motoring a fair bit.

Let me fill you in on a couple of survey results that Sam Steele published in her book “Circumnavigator’s guide” from 57 circumnavigators, 12 of whom were single handers:

I think you could literally sail round Britain, but the longer the passages and the further you are away from the coast the easier it would be, despite it being a longer journey. This is because the trip would morph into the equivalent of an ocean voyage where you’d see precious little land. This would be somewhat uninspiring. The whole challenge about sailing round a coast line is the fact that you’ve got land to worry about! Boats don’t like hard bits. So long as you have a sea worthy boat the further away from land you are the safer you are. So I think, if anything, the challenge would be to sail round Britain with the smallest possible miles covered. You’d then be forced to hug the coast. You wouldn’t be able to go into marinas as that requires motoring so you’d end up anchoring everywhere. It would be a tough old challenge. It may be that having a boat small enough to row would be the best option. Or a big one with a hefty anchor! The first guy to sail round Britain was back in the late 1900’s and he did precisely that - sailed and rowed!

I had a vague hope that I could do a 25/75 ratio but that looks very optimistic now. Maybe I could manage 30/70 but I think 35/65 is more realistic at this point. 23% of yachts surveyed for this by Sam Steele managed better than 30/70 and only 50% managed better than 50/50. None did better than 10/90. I think if you motored more than you sailed it should be called a “motor round Britain”.


I’m going to keep up my efforts to motor as little as possible but within the constraint of making it back before the season ends (before end of September).