In just under 2 weeks time, I will be heading out of St Katherine’s Dock at Tower Bridge on the River Thames on my next great voyage, an adventure I have called Finishing The Dream . Myself and two friends, James Dunn and Sam Taylor-Nobbs will be crewing Wetwheels around the UK. We leave London on Monday 13th of May heading in a clockwise direction with a plan to stop at 17 different destinations which we anticipate to take about five weeks (see our route at the end of this post). We are raising awareness and money for the Wetwheels Foundation , do please donate if you can – CLICK HERE TO DONATE.

We will have three vehicles making up our shore crew including a wheelchair accessible campervan for myself. Whilst the voyage on water is estimated to travel just over 1,500 nautical miles, the shore crew will drive in excess of 2,500 miles, setting up camp each night. It is a huge logistical exercise

Although my previous circumnavigation in a sailing dinghy in 2007 took more than 100 days and I visited more than 50 ports and harbours, taking a powerboat around the UK presents a different set of challenges. It will be quicker for sure but there are four main challenges we have to plan for and mitigate against;

  • Travelling at higher speeds creates a greater impact when hitting waves, not only on the boat but on my body. As a 58-year-old quadriplegic, paralysed from the chest down, and having spent 40 years in a wheelchair, I have to be very mindful of the toll this is going to take my on my body. With most legs taking up to 6 hours and travelling at speeds up to 30 kn across some of the U.K.’s most unpredictable waters, my health and well-being will be monitored continually. We have designed and built an impact platform using shock absorbers for my wheelchair to be secured to which will dissipate much of that energy and impact shock from the bigger waves
  • Finding accessible harbours/ports to visit has not been so straightforward. Although much of the south coast of the UK is well catered for in terms of marinas with ramped pontoons for easy wheelchair access, the further north we go, the fewer the options particularly when trying to plan passages between ports up to 140 miles apart
  • As previously mentioned, finding somewhere accessible for me to sleep every night, particularly somewhere close to a remote harbour or port, will be almost impossible. With support from the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou , we have purchased and converted a motorhome so it can accommodate my heavy powered wheelchair and has an accessible shower
  • Fuel. Wetwheels uses petrol to power her twin 325 hp Suzuki engines. Although available at most larger harbours, petrol is not fuel that is easily acquired in more remote harbours and ports. We have additional emergency tanks on board but the logistics of refuelling are going to be a challenge

As with my previous adventures, I know that 90% of the effort is getting to the start line. We have been lucky in identifying some amazing sponsors to help with equipment and costs including Raymarine Hugh James Cheetah Marine Catamarans RS Marine Group Henri-Lloyd but we still have a funding shortfall, without which, we may not reach the finish line. If anyone reading this is in a position to support us or know of an individual or company who might like to sponsor us, please drop me a private message or email me through the website

Do please sign up and follow us on the website. We have a tracker which will be showing our daily position; if possible come along and see us at one of our destinations (bring treats). We cannot give exact dates of arrival at each port, the journey will be dictated by the weather however we are leaving on Monday, May 13 and we shall be trying to reach our destinations each day consecutively after that. Make sure you check the tracker first.!

We also have a fantastic presence on social media includingFacebook, Instagram, Twitter , YouTube and Tik-Tok where we will be regularly posting videos and photographs. Sign up and follow us.

Apologies if I do not respond to your messages promptly, I do read them and will do my best some point to reply.

  • London
  • Dover
  • Portsmouth
  • Torbay
  • Falmouth
  • Newlyn (refuel only)
  • Milford Haven
  • Holyhead
  • Bangor
  • Oban
  • Tobermory (refuel only)
  • Ullapool
  • Scrabster
  • Peterhead
  • Edinburgh
  • North Shields
  • Whitby
  • Grimsby
  • Lowestoft
  • Chatham
  • London

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