Harken Derm

On a Mission to Give Back

Published on January 20th, 2019

Back in 2017, Britain’s Ken Fowler took his 12 foot RS Aero dinghy along the length of Great Britain, covering 865 miles of action filled sailing in his “Race To Scotland”. Fog banks, nuclear submarine exercises, giant whirlpools and surf beach landings typified the roller coaster ride of taking on this challenging route.

Having pushed his body to the limit with 10-12 hour days in the dinghy, he managed to raise £37,000 for two cancer charities. Most sailors would give themselves a pat on the back; say “Well done” and walk away feeling “Mission Accomplished”. But not Ken.

For Ken and Yoda (his RS Aero dinghy) it was more a feeling of “Unfinished Business” having set themselves the target of raising £50,000 for cancer charities and come up short. So in order to finish the job Ken came up with the equally crazy idea of becoming the first dinghy to sail around all the islands in England and Wales.

Beginning in August 2018, this turned out to be a bigger challenge than he thought. A shoulder injury has temporarily sidelined the effort but he returns to the course April 2019 for what he expects to be 1000 miles of sailing when done. As for all the islands, that number is up to 183 and counting.

The islands vary in size from the 120 miles around Anglesey in Wales to the multitude of stunning “Caribbean” islands of the Isles of Scilly, some of which are only around 30m in length. Each island has its own intriguing history such as “Deadman’s Island” – full of coffins and bones that are visible at low tide and the Napoleonic forts guarding the home of the British navy at Portsmouth.

The sailing is going to be challenging with multiple islands in the Severn estuary where the tidal range is 49 feet – about four times bigger than Ken’s dinghy. In other locations the islands are over 10 miles off shore or involve surf beach landings, so no day is going to be a straight forward one!

For some of the adventure Ken will be out there on his own travelling and living out of his 20 year old VW campervan as he travels between the launch sites. For some of the more challenging sections a support crew will follow his journey along the coastline and monitor his progress on GPS tracking. They will be in constant contact either by radio or phone.

Safety will be provided by emergency equipment on board and a GPS tracking his position at all times, which will be available live on the internet– a great way to follow the adventure.

Follow at www.yodare.co.uk.

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