All aboard the Gulliver for a tour of the UK

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A SHALDON skipper is weeks away from embarking on a monumental voyage.

Bill Folley, 73, is planning to travel around the UK in his seagoing ship to raise money for the RNLI.

Bill is due to leave his home port of Teignmouth on June 20 aboard his twin-screw motorboat ‘Gulliver’ and sail clockwise around the UK on a voyage that is expected to last about 35 days.

“The idea is to use the marinas and safe harbors around the coast which become scarce as you go north, especially on the northeast coast…but that’s part of the challenge. !” he said.

“The first port will be Dartmouth, then Falmouth, Newquay and on to Padstow and so on,” Bill explained.

The Shaldon-based skipper’s plan of attack is to sail for a few hours, get to a marina in the late afternoon, then relax, eat and get a good night’s sleep for the start of the the following day.

“I’m afraid to knock over the fishermen’s traps and put them in the propeller – that’s a serious consideration as it would involve going under the boat and cutting them.”

“That said, propeller shafts do have rope cutters – best avoided first, but sometimes they’re poorly marked and appear right in front of you and before you know it you’ve got one around for your support.’

(Steve Pope © / MDA ) (Steve Pope © / MDA)

The weather is, of course, another factor on Bill’s mind.

“It is essential to monitor the weather conditions constantly, but you can get caught.

“The last thing, oddly enough, are midges on the west coast of Scotland, I haven’t experienced them myself yet.

“My wife gave me the strongest bug spray, I would hate to be bitten up there, but I probably will!”

The former Merchant Navy man, whose last job at sea was in 1998 driving a Condor fast cat, has owned a small boat all his life so it was no surprise the RNLI was his first stopover. .

“I have always appreciated what the RLNI does for everyone in the UK and this is an adventure I wanted to do when I was 73.

‘I felt like a challenge and thought, it’s ridiculous to take on a challenge and not let someone else enjoy it, so I contacted RNLI headquarters in Poole and they m helped a lot in guiding me towards the best ways to fundraise. .

“I managed to set up a fundraising page and already people have been remarkably generous.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity which saves lives at sea: this end is achieved through lifeboat search and rescue, the deployment of lifeguards, water safety education and disaster rescue. of flooding.

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