AN INTREPID sailor has completed the second major part of a gruelling challenge in his bid to fulfil a promise to raise £50,000 for two charities close to his heart.
Mudeford resident Ken Fowler sailed around his 66th UK island in 2019 as part of a task he has set himself to benefit Cancer Research UK and Oakhaven Hospice.
As reported in the A&T two years ago, Ken attempted to pilot a four-metre dinghy 865 miles from Land’s End to John o’ Groats for the two charities.
However, despite completing the award-winning sail – which had been attempted only once before by a person in a much bigger boat – he fell £13,000 short of his target.
Because he considers the challenge “unfinished business” he decided to take on an even bigger one: sailing 1,200 miles around the 183 islands dotted around England and Wales in his spare time. The money he raises along the trip will plug the funding gap.
Having begun the challenge in late 2018, last week he finished his schedule for 2019 and has now sailed around 78 islands in total.
Ken, who is a member of Highcliffe Sailing Club, will now rest before resuming the challenge next May in the Scilly Islands. So far he has raised £4,000 and is hoping when he enters the final stretch next year he can raise the remaining £9,000 or so to reach his
“It’s been an a year of ups and downs and lots of hard work to get round the islands,” Ken reflected to the A&T.
“With tricky tides, big wind days and the odd challenge of carrying your boat across roads to get round the islands, life hasn’t been dull.”
Ken said the fundraising was “well on track”, adding: “Keeping yourself motivated and going with such a challenging project has been hard, but each time it feels tough I think about the cancer patients who have no choice, and that keeps me going.
“I’m looking forward to crossing the halfway figure early in 2020 and then hopefully powering through the 100-island barrier shortly after – I know when that happens I’ll feel like the end is a little closer, as at the moment it still feels somewhere way in the distance.
“The winter will be busy doing all the final-route research and planning, as well as getting out and giving talks about the adventure.
“These talks bring in donations, and if there is anyone out there who would like me to come and talk to their group then please contact me,” Ken said.
Ken decided to raise money in memory of his father Eric, who died aged 50 from cancer, and his late mother-in-law Ina was also believed to have had the disease before she died.
An air traffic controller by profession, Ken is supported in his challenge by an array of sponsors, including Rooster, Overboard, Morgan Sails and Zest Boatworks – which has kitted him out and set the boat up – Grapefruit Graphics and Wolfden Creative. SolRX, Halcyon Yachts and ICOM have also assisted, and YB Tracking has provided him with a full live tracker so the public can follow Ken’s journey.
Ken said: “I hope to complete all the islands remaining in 2020 but as with every sailing adventure the final arbiter of success will be the weather.
“My adventures next year will take me from the Farne Islands in the far north-east of England to the challenging tidal coastline of Wales and the highlight of sailing the Isles of Scilly. If all goes to plan, the final island will be the nearest to home – the Isle of Wight.”
To follow Ken’s journey or donate visit his website at www.yodare.co.uk and click on the link to his Virgin Money Giving page. Email him at email@example.com.