Having faced the inclement British summer, 21-year-old Ludo Bennett-Jones was greeted by former international yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur as he completed a record breaking voyage around the British Isles raising funds for Comic Relief and the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.
Young Ludo Bennett-Jones, son of Peter Bennett-Jones (Chairman of Comic Relief) set sail from East Cowes on Saturday, 28 April for his 2,500 mile circumnavigation of the coastline of Great Britain. Sailing in a two handed 16ft Wayfarer dinghy sponsored by BT, Ludo became the youngest and fastest to have completed this unique challenge when he arrived back into East Cowes on Thursday, 12 July. Ludo has been raising funds for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and Sport Relief, charities supported by BT. Of the target £100,000, nearly £40,000 has been raised so far.
An accomplished sailor, Ludo has demonstrated enormous determination and great skill to complete his task in what can only be described as some of the worst weather conditions Britain has experienced in recent years. He has followed in the footsteps of esteemed yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur who’s first voyage was also a circumnavigation of the Britain, aged just 19.
Traversing the Bristol Channel, one of the UK’s busiest shipping lanes, rounding Cape Wrath, one of the most unpredictable corners of the Scottish Isles and visiting all four UK countries in four consecutive days in May (possibly another first in a dinghy) are just some of the extraordinary highlights from his journey, with several different crew members to help him complete his challenge. His exploits and experiences have been well documented in Ludo’s blog which can be found on the www.loveludo.com website, his latest instalment to his high sea adventures being rescued by the RNLI when his rudder broke just days ahead of his finish.
Once on dry land, Ludo told well-wishers gathered at East Cowes Marina: “What an epic adventure this has been. When I left here on 28 April, it was cold, wet, much like this. It didn’t beat me, it might have slowed me down a bit but I’m still here. It was a truly extraordinary journey, sailing with dolphins, four kingdoms in three days, battling the Scottish seas, testing lots of Orkney bitter and fine malt whiskeys and meeting fascinating and generous people the whole way round.
“Big thanks to the wonderful teams at the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, especially Frank (Fletcher) who has been so supportive and to Ellen (MacArthur)who first inspired me as a young teenager and subsequently when I volunteered for the Trust.
“Massive thank you to my family, my Mum and Dad who have endured sleepless nights but have remained resolutely cheerful and generous in all aspects of their support.
“Thanks to everyone who has donated. You have all made it so worthwhile and the running total currently stands at just under £40,000. Fundraising still continues so please donate if you haven’t already done so and spread the word. It’s all for amazing causes as we have seen today. I’m off to shave now...!”
After taking the lines from Ludo’s boat when he arrived back in East Cowes, Dame Ellen MacArthur said: “Ludo is now a hero of mine. The boat that Ludo sailed round Britain in is a dinghy with no cabin and most people would go and sail one of those for an hour, maybe two, but to sail one for over 75 days is really quite extraordinary.
“We have an amazing coastline but it’s covered with everything from treacherous rocks and strong currents to sandbars and to get a tiny little boat round like Ludo has, is really something quite extraordinary and not many people have ever done it.
“I just want to say thank you personally because I think what you have done is amazing and thank you so much on behalf of the Cancer Trust (Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust). It will make a massive difference.”
• Ludo spent 76 days at sea, including 29 days not sailing due to adverse weather
• During this time he stopped over at 47 ports, harbours and beaches around the UK
• He incredibly managed to visit four kingdoms in four days – from Wales to the Isle of Man, to Northern Ireland, then Scotland
• The longest leg was 71 nautical miles from Kinlochbervie to Scrabster in 13 hours; 13 hours at sea in a dinghy!
Photos: Patrick Eden Photography / www.patrickeden.co.uk
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