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Global sailor forced ashore

by Oxford Mail on 11 May 2006
Adrian Flanagan first step ashore Alpha Global Expedition
Yachtsman Adrian Flanagan has abandoned the non-stop element of his voyage around the world by stepping ashore for the first time in more than six months.

Mr Flanagan has docked in Hawaii to fix his damaged boat and could be there for as long as a fortnight.

But his onshore team said this would only be a pause in his attempt to sail solo around the world via the polar regions, although the non-stop aspect of the record-breaking attempt has now been compromised.

Before disaster struck in stormy seas last week and Mr Flanagan's 40ft boat Barrabas suffered serious damage to its mast, he had been planning to just meet a boat off the coast of Hawaii carrying extra supplies.

But yesterday he found himself stepping on to dry land for the first time since leaving Southampton on October 28 last year.

Though he wore bandages on both wrists, which were dislocated in a storm, and his legs were wobbly, the 45-year-old father of two appeared fit and well both mentally and physically.

The repairs are expected to keep Mr Flanagan, who lives in Ludgershall, near Bicester, in Hawaii for between three and 14 days.

He said: 'If I didn't repair the mast and I was in another big storm it would bow out and snap like a match. The whole rig would come down.'

He was greeted by other boaters from the Waikiki Yacht Club who presented him with leis (Hawaiian-style garlands) before giving him what he had been dreaming of - an ice-cold Guinness.

After taking his first sip, he said: 'That feels strange, very strange.'

He later enjoyed a steak lunch at the boat club and declared Hawaii to be the most beautiful place he had ever seen.

Assuming his boat can be repaired while docked in Hawaii, Mr Flanagan, who is undertaking the expedition partly in aid of the Oxford Children's Hospital Campaign, will continue his voyage west to a point just southeast of Japan. From there, he would head north into the Bering Strait and then into the Arctic Ocean.

'When I'm in the Arctic Ocean, I'll either turn right over to the Canadian side or turn left and go over to the Russian side,' he said.

To go through the Russian Arctic, he would need permission from the Russian transport secretary, which his ex-wife and expedition manager Louise Flanagan is attempting to obtain.

He would not need permission to go through the Canadian Arctic.

It would take about two months for him to make it to the Bering Strait from Hawaii, meaning the sooner he leaves the better.

If the Arctic is blocked by ice, Mr Flanagan would probably head back down the west coast of America, through the Panama Canal and back up to Britain, a more traditional route for circumnavigating the globe.

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