'My Hero!' is how famed sailor and environmental advocate Dame Ellen MacArthur described 21-year-old Ludo Bennett-Jones after he completed his record breaking Great Britain circumnavigation this week, becoming the youngest and the fastest to complete such a voyage in a 16ft Wayfarer dinghy.
Ludo Bennett-Jones and Dame Ellen MacArthur after Ludo’s triumphant arrival home
Ludo, who set sail on 28th April from Cowes, in his BT sponsored cabinless dinghy, on a 2500 mile circumnavigation of the coastline of Great Britain completed his epic voyage at 12.30 on Thursday 12th July in East Cowes. At the dockside to greet him was former international yachtswoman, Dame Ellen MacArthur.
Commenting at the finish on his incredible achievement, Dame Ellen had this to say, 'Ludo is now a hero of mine. The boat that Ludo sailed round Britain in is a dinghy with no cabin -most people would go and sail one of those for an hour, maybe two, but to sail one for 47 days is really quite extraordinary. When I sailed round Britain aged 18 I took a little boat with a cabin and it took me 4 ½ months, so it’s blown that out of the window. We have an amazing coastline but it’s covered in treacheries from rocks to currents to sandbars and to get a tiny dinghy round as Ludo has done, is really something quite extraordinary.'
Ludo has achieved two records with his unique sailing challenge. He is now the youngest and fastest person to have sailed around the coastline of Britain in at 16ft dinghy. In addition to breaking records, Ludo has been raising funds for the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust and Sport Relief. To date close to £50,000 has been raised of the targeted £100,000. Donations can still be made at: http://www.loveludo.com
An accomplished sailor, Ludo has demonstrated enormous determination and great skill to complete his task in some of the worst weather conditions Britain has experienced in over 200 years.
Traversing the Bristol Channel, one of the UK’s busiest shipping lanes, rounding Cape Wrath, one of the most unpredictable corners of the Scottish Isles and visiting all four UK countries in three consecutive days in May (possibly another first in a dinghy) are just some of the extraordinary highlights from his journey.
Ludo has been away for 76 consecutive days and sailing for 47 of those. He has had several different crew members to help him complete his challenge. His exploits and experiences are well documented in 'Ludo’s blog' including his rescue by the RNLI when his rudder broke just days before the finish (See http://www.sail-world.com/CruisingAus/Ludo-Bennett-Jones-UK-circumnavigation--rudder-snapped-but-almost-home/99569!Sail-World_story). The blog can be found on www.loveludo.com
About the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust:The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national organisation that takes young people aged between 8-24 sailing to help them regain confidence, on their way to recovery from cancer, leukaemia and other serious illness: http://www.ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org/