Epic sail around Mull raises £12,000 for Children in Need

The crew of five faced some huge challenges during the Children in Need fundraiser.

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The intrepid team that set out to sail for eight days non-stop round Mull under skipper Joey Gough for Children in Need have raised in excess of £12,000, with the amount still rising.

Having had to manage a range of weather conditions from flat calms to F9 winds and big seas, the crew of Tangle o’ the Isles, a First 32s5, sailed back to Dunstaffnage Marina on Friday (November 15), co-inciding with the end of The BBC Rickshaw Challenge.

They had been at sea, or in shelter from gales, for eight days and seven nights and their achievement was recognised on The One Show as well as the BBC Children in Need TV programme.

Said Joey: ‘We all want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who donated so generously to raise such a fantastic amount. I had a distant hope that we may reach a five figure sum, but this has really exceeded our expectations. I am keeping the JustGiving page open via our website for a time in case anyone else wishes to contribute to boost this amount. I want to thank the crew who put themselves through some pretty tough sailing for the cause and also the shore team and sponsors for their support.’

The experienced sailors of Joey (Duror), Twig Olsen (Taynuilt), Christine MacFarlane Slack (Balachullish), Colin Campbell (Acharacle) and Robert Bradley (Melbourne, Australia) circumnavigated Mull nearly four times during the eight days, experiencing a wide range of weathers and sea states.

Joey said: ‘The toughest thing was being stopped by the weather – safety was uppermost in our minds and we always said when conditions became too severe we would run for shelter as any experienced seafarer would do.

‘However we still encountered some pretty challenging and uncomfortable sailing conditions and, of course, extreme cold which at this time of year can easily lead to hypothermia.’

‘The watch system was successful and we catered for high energy needs as well as having the heater in the cabin on full –time. However, the cockpit where the crew spent half their time when at sea, has no warmth or shelter.When the cabin heater broke down half way through the challenge it was a priority to dismantle, fix, and rebuild it quickly!’

Repairs also had to be made to some main sail sliders which were broken by a squall off Loch Buie.’

The non-stop circumnavigation in Tangle was a major offshore challenge and must have been one of the most difficult fundraising feats undertaken for Children In Need.

Skipper Joey Gough was also fighting his own personal challenge after a major operation at the end of August. He and his team pulled out all the stops for the charity.

The team streamed back live videos via social media and the boat was tracked on AIS throughout the journey. Contact was made with Joey’s home club – Oban Sailing Club – during the club’s annual prizegiving dinner and the proceeds of the raffle of £415 were donated to the fundraising for Children In Need.

Australian crew member Robert Bradley who was experiencing his first winter sailing in Scotland on the challenge flew back to Melbourne immediately after the sailing feat: ‘I will be glad to get back to temperatures in the high 30s compared to below freezing Round Mull,’ he said, adding that it had been quite an experience all round.

Joey and his team are now taking a well-earned rest, and Tangle o’ the Isles has been lifted out to her winter storage at Creran Marine.

A raft of commercial supporters gave help in kind to get the challenge off the ground – Oban-based Pole Position built the website, CGL (Oban) printed promotional material and Navigators and General supported with an Insurance extension. Creran Marine donated an additional launch and recovery, and Dunstaffnage Marina gave free berthing before and after the event. Oban-based Art and Sea provided graphics on Tangle and PFM Pictures free use of photographs for publicity. Finally the Bank of Scotland gave a free-of-charge account for the Challenge to use.

For full details of the voyage and the JustGiving page, visit www.tangleotheisles.com