In a 21-footer
Motorboater Paul Churchley is planning to circumnavigate Britain in a 21ft Jeanneau, promoting sea and fishing safety while raising funds for the charity.
He is also acting as an ambassador for the RNLI’s new MOB Guardian man overboard and vessel locator alert system.
Self-employed Paul, 48, who lives in Saltash (Cornwall), will set off from Plymouth in May on board his Suzuki-powered 21ft Jeanneau Merry Fisher 625 Stargate.
Ahead of him will be a 1,700 mile journey, which will take him clockwise around Britain stopping at 20 ports along the way.
He says: “I wanted a personal challenge and I’ve certainly got one!
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“A small boat like mine is affected by weather and sea considerably more than larger vessels.
“Not only that, but I’m doing the entire trip on my own, promoting the RNLI in each port, planning the next leg at each stopover and making notes for a book I plan to write, which I hope will be the definitive guide to others planning a similar trip.”
Paul moved to Cornwall two years ago with a view to doing more sailing.
But he developed a taste for motor boating and seized on the idea of going round Britain.
His early planning led him to a meeting with the RNLI’s sea safety representative who took Paul through one of the charity’s SEA checks and cemented his determination to use the trip to raise funds: “I wanted to make the trip something more than a sea based challenge and felt it was an opportunity to support the work of the RNLI.
“So I’m hoping to raise as much money as possible for the charity’s ‘Train one, save many’ campaign, which aims to secure funds for the training of the volunteer lifeboat crews. As a seafarer it is a huge comfort to know that the lifeboats are there if the worst should happen. This is my way of saying thank you.”
Sean Friday, RNLI Fishing Safety Coordinator, adds: “Wherever he docks, Paul is welcoming fishermen onboard his vessel to look at a working MOB Guardian unit in situ.
“He’s offered to do this as he recognises the major contribution it offers to fishing safety.
“We’re trying to talk to as many fishermen as we can about the safety system, as quickly as possible, as grants available to help with unit costs, are running out soon.”
Paul is no stranger to adventure. A commercial flying pilot and instructor, he flew across America for six weeks, and he’s also ridden a scooter from London to John O’Groats and back.
If the weather is kind, he hopes to complete his challenge in around 60 days and be back home to wife Sally Buswell before the end of the summer.