Well done Keith for completing your challenge

  • by Dart Sailability
  • 26 Jun, 2017

Disabled yachtsman sailing single-handed around Great Britain & Ireland.

Keith started on 12 May and finished on 18 June.  He did 2,497 nautical miles.

Where is Keith? Track his progress below

Keith has a satellite tracker on the boat. Follow Keith White as he attempts his  Round Britain and Ireland challenge here.

Update on Keith's progress by Mark Sanders-Barswick 16th June 2017

So near yet so far!

Disabled yachtsman’s heroic effort to circumvent the UK single-handed are thwarted by misfortune again.

Having encountered bad weather with strong winds over the previous days, Marathon was struck by a heavy wave which knocked out the vessels electrics. Despite Marathon ’s Mainsail being blown and the yacht being rammed by an Irish fishing vessel earlier in the trip, Keith showed typical dogged determination to complete his journey.

On the 7th June, Keith posted on his Facebook page:

I’m exhausted and wet. This is the first time I’ve stopped all day. Very big seas and Marathon went over to a 40 degrees angle and now everything is on the floor – and predicted winds in the North Sea are 35 knots plus.’

But Keith’s indomitable spirit was not for breaking as wilfully, he pushed Marathon southwards. Then, almost 200 miles from journey’s end, cruel fate struck plucky Keith another blow. Just before 7pm on Sunday 11th June, a vessel passing Keith put in a call to UK Coastguard and Lowestoft RNLI was launched to locate Keith some 27 miles south-east of the port.

Lowestoft RNLI took about an hour to reach Keith whilst a wind farm crew transfer vessel was standing by close to Marathon . An RNLI crew member was put aboard Marathon and found Keith to be tired but determined to continue his single-handed journey.

Despite strenuous protestations from Keith, the RNLI took the decision return to port with Marathon and towed Marathon back into Lowestoft, mooring in Hamilton Dock just after midnight.

Marathon under tow by Lowestoft lifeboat
Keith, understandably, is devastated that his journey has been broken. But, the fact of the matter is, the circumstances of the situation were beyond his control. The ever-resourceful yachtsman was forced to make ongoing, temporary repairs to Marathon, his steadfast attitude standing strong throughout the journey - only have to have his dream shattered so close to home
Distance travelled before forced tow-in

Keith’s determined nature, true to form, has refused to give in. After repairs to his vessel he has continued his journey and at 08:00 this morning was off of Margate.
The distance that Keith and Marathon travelled with blown-out Mainsail relying on only jib and staysail.
Surely, there is no doubt that Keith could, and would, have achieved his goal if he was not forcibly towed into Lowestoft? We can all learn from Keith and his Herculaneum spirit… never give up – ever! Let’s make a big push to welcome home Keith. Please ask all your friends, colleagues, neighbours – anyone you know, to make a donation  https://mydonate.bt.com/donation/start.html?charity=109987

Round Britain & Ireland challenge

In May 2017, disabled single handed sailor Keith White will cast off from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, to sail clockwise around the whole of British Isle’s. The voyage will take him non-stop around the west coast of Ireland and St Kilda, then passing north of the Shetlands Islands and south past the east coast of England to Dover then west along the English channel and back home to the Isle of Wight.

Wight Fibre, the optic cable broadband supplier will be supporting the challenge and raising funds for the U K S A. and Dartmouth will be raising funds for Sailability.


Lola helping with setting up the collection tins by doing her Andrex puppy impersonation with the labels
One of many completed laminated posters and collection tins ready to go into Dartmouth’s shops and cafes

How did Keith White come to join Dart Sailability?

How did Keith White come to join Dart Sailability and dedicate his Round The British Isles Solo Challenge to raise money for Dart Sailability and for all UK Sailability organisations?

Like everything it was a matter of luck.

In October 2015 Keith and the Marathon has started out from Cowes to head for the official start line for global circumnavigation for those folk who start that massive challenge from here. Somewhere off Dartmouth he had a gear issue with his steering, so he popped into Dartmouth.

Tim Trent, now our Safety Officer works part time for Dart Harbour and Navigation Authority, and he was on Yacht Taxi duty, monitoring VHF channel 11, DHNA's channel, since no River Officers were on duty that day. He picked up Keith's call for berthing assistance, and with his colleague, Jan Scott, helped Marathon to a safe berth.

Keith's global and literally single handed trip interested Tim, so much so that he looked him up online and found out that he is quite a guy, with a history of achievements as a yachtsman with only one hand that Tim could only gasp at in awe, and could not even consider doing with both hands. Unbidden, Tim was the main architect of the Wikipedia page on Keith.

As that voyage unfolded Tim suggested to Keith that he return to Dartmouth as his first port of call when he came back to the UK, and DHNA made him royally welcome in 2016 when he did so. Keith fell in love with Dartmouth.

When he planned his solo circumnavigation of the British Isles, he asked Tim which Dartmouth charities he might support with his new challenge. “Dart Sailability,” said Tim. The fit was so perfect.

Almost on the spot Keith joined us as a sailing member, and put our logo and stickers on Marathon. Then he had a brainwave, and got on touch with the RYA Sailability folk, suggesting that he and we were leading the way with fundraising for taking folk with disbilities afloat, and asked them if they would let all Sailability folk know. And they have!

We're fundraising based on Keith's trip. We've gone for the idea that it's a notional 2,100 nautical mile trip, and we're suggesting folk sponsor Keith's challenge per nautical mile

Dart Sailability News Blog

by Dart Sailability 19 Sep, 2017
Eighteen of us cruised to the Mewstone for some seal watching.  We then visited the Blackpool Beach bay before anchoring in Shingle Cove for our picnic.  The Sonars (a girls crew and a boys crew) then raced back to Dartmouth with the girls clear winners.  Well done to Anna, Emily, Pam and Denise.
by Dart Sailability 18 Sep, 2017

The sea cruise is set to go ahead. You should have had an email from Bob so if you plan to come with us and have replied to Bob we will see you at Noss at 10am. 

Paul S


by Dart Sailability 14 Sep, 2017
Mayfield School took to the water in Farries Flyer today (14th Sept) for a trip to Stoke Gabriel.  Mayfield's visits this year, have been generously funded by Rotary.  Although severely disabled, it was obvious that the children all loved the experience.  The carers did too and each took their turn at the helm.
by Dart Sailability 02 Sep, 2017
Robert Boyd came 3rd in the 303 single Hansa dinghy class at the RYA Multiclass regatta held at Rutland Sailability between 4-6 August.
by Dart Sailability 01 Sep, 2017
Thirty of us sizzled and guzzled at The Salmon Trap at Galmpton.  The sun shone, the matches were remembered and thanks to MDL at Galmpton, the Road closure at Noss did not spoil our fun.
by Dart Sailability 29 Aug, 2017
Well done to all those who attended and helped out at the 'Classic boat parade' great fun was had by all and we even won a prize. 
by Dart Sailability 28 Aug, 2017

Regular sailors in Dartmouth Regatta were taken by surprise this week. Experience says that the last week of August will be windy and very changeable, so four days of light wind and full sunshine came as a bit of a shock.

 Our two Sonars raced every day with the exception of Saturday when lack of wind early on and a decision by the Race Committee to abandon meant that there was disappointment for those who were down to sail that day.

 Our boats now race under a different scoring system (IRC) and without spinnakers were less competitive. However all acquitted themselves well and both boats finished in the middle of the fleet, while Krak-On squeezed into third place overall.

 Sunday crews probable fared best with three races in a lovely breeze and the bonus of being offered gin and tonics at the end of the last race.

 None of this would have happened without the enthusiastic organisation of Fleet Captain Keith Cockburn. Thank you Keith.


by Dart Sailability 09 Jul, 2017

Round the Island Race 2017

This year there was a Dart Sailability official-unofficial team entry for the Round The Island Race, raced on Saturday 1 July, organised by the Island Sailing Club. This is reputed to be the fourth largest participation sport activity in the United Kingdom, attracting some 1,600 entries with an estimated 16,500 individual sailors taking part. And in 2017 our new member Keith White, fresh from his triumphant solo circumnavigation of the British Isles (marks to starboard!) entered the Marathon to race the 50+ nautical miles round the Isle of Wight (marks to port!), and invited Tim Trent, volunteer and our Safety Officer, to join the crew.

The race did not go as planned.

On Friday 30 June Keith met Tim from the RedJet ferry at West Cowes at lunchtime and they planned getting the Marathon ready for the race. There was to be a crew of seven for the race, no bad thing, she's a big boat and heavy to operate even though Keith sails her solo on challenges, but racing is a very different thing from solo challenges. During the afternoon that seven dwindled to four, but four was fine to race her.

by Dart Sailability 09 Jul, 2017

Dart Sailability hosted a team from the junior section of RDYC at Noss on Saturday 1st July. Six sailors took part from each team in a light breeze and there was close quarters racing around the course.  Three races were held and RDYC came out on top by a clear margin.  Janet Cottey put on a superb cream tea afterwards while RDYC were presented with the Sailability Team Racing cup.  Great fun was had by all and we look forward to meeting up again next year.

by Dart Sailability 09 Jul, 2017

Dart Sailability took part in joint training exercise today (Sunday 4th June) involving Dart RNLI and National Coast Watch Froward Point.

The exercise was organised by Dart Sailability’s Safety Officer, Tim Trent liaising with Richard Eggleton at Dart RNLI and Dave Scotson, volunteer watch keeper at NCI - Froward Point

Dart Sailability’s vessel Farries Flyer , designed and built to accommodate severely disabled sailors, was used for the operation with Tim Trent at the Helm. The vessel, based on an aluminium landing craft design, has specially designed dual control, side loading and a hydraulic ramp at the front to provide access. The Farries Flyer can accommodate up to 12 sailors including four in wheelchairs.

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