Setting sail on the trip of a lifetime

LIFELONG friends and keen adventurers will be taking on the challenge of sailing around the whole of Great Britain in a 60-year-old wooden dinghy to raise money for charity.

Will Hodshon from Westwood, near Bradford on Avon, and Richard Mitchell from Fort William in Scotland are casting off tomorrow (Saturday) to raise funds for the RNLI and Surfers Against Sewage.

They will setting sail in Nipegegi, the beloved Hodshon family wooden Wayfarer dinghy which they have owned since it was built, with their aim of completing the first non-stop and unassisted circumnavigation of mainland Britain in an open sailing vessel.

Where they start their journey all depends on the wind direction: on Saturday morning they will launch from either Sennen Cove in Cornwall, Salcombe in Devon or Swanage in Dorset, depending on the weather report tomorrow.

Mr Hodshon said: “It’s been a real family affair preparing Nipegegi over the last 18 months and we’re feeling a healthy mix of excitement and trepidation, before we set sail on the biggest adventure of Nipegegi’s and our lives.

“The charities do invaluable work, and Surfers Against Sewage drive change for the protection of the marine environment, a subject close to the hearts of both Rich and his wife Suzanne who have studied and worked in marine conservation for some years.

“The success of this attempt is highly dependent on favourable weather and sailing conditions. Fingers crossed that we will be smiled upon and able to achieve our record attempt.” The two friends are also hoping to beat the Round Britain speed record of 32 days set in 2014.

Nipegegi, known fondly as Nipe, is registered as Wayfarer number W198 and was bought at the 1959 London Boat Show by Mr Hodshon’s grandfather, Bill Hodshon.

Her name is made up of the first two letters of each of his children, Mr Hodshon’s uncle, father and aunties’, names: Nick, Penny, Geoff and Gill.

The Wayfarer is regarded as the fastest, most seaworthy dinghy for long distance voyages and has set the last two records.

If all goes to plan, the trip will add to the achievements of the boat, which during her life has won numerous national championships helmed by Mr Hodshon’s Grandpa Bill, father Geoff and uncle Nick.

During the winter Mr Hodshon gave Nipe a major refit with help from his dad, wife, and children as well as current Round Britain record holder Jeremy Warren.

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