But 'once is enough', vertical circumnavigator tells YM

Adrian Flanagan arrived back in the Solent on Wednesday to a rapturous reception from the Royal Navy, friends and family and the world’s press.

The British adventurer sailed his 36ft SloopBarrabasinto Hamble after two and a half years and 30,000 miles. He became the first solo yachtsman to traverse the Northern Sea Route, and the first to complete a ‘vertical circumnavigation’ of the globe.

The trip was not without its problems. As he told YM, he encountered pirates off Brazil, and was knocked down twice off Cape Horn. He was swept overboard only five days into the trip, only being saved “by a rogue wave which picked me up and sat me down on the deck on the opposite side of the boat”.

Bureaucratic delays meant that he had to postpone part of the trip before he was granted permission to sail through the Russian Arctic – and he was forced to overwinter in Norway as the ice conditions were too dangerous. “I could have carried on but frankly it would have been unseamanlike” commented Adrian.

“I didn’t want the final passage to be a fight” he continued. I’ve got nothing to prove to anyone – and neither has the boat.” His wish was granted and they had an easy downwind passage throught the North Sea and down the English Channel.

The World Speed Sailing Records Council has refused to count the trip as a record as Flanagan was forced to stop twice. But Flanagan is unconcerned. He told Yachting Monthly, “I didn’t set out to get in a record book, I set out to do what I wanted to do. The moment I crossed the 66th parallel and sailed into the Arctic, the Alphaglobex expedition became unique. It doesn’t matter what happened after that – even if the boat had sunk, we still made a piece of maritime history.”

And would he do it again? “No! Once is enough!”