David's sailing website
David’s sailing website

The club’s president Don Turner opened Thursday’s meeting with news of the club’s involvement in the Olympic torch parade. Also the club is organising a special event in June for ‘museums on the air’ in conjunction with the Spitfire Memorial Museum. He then introduced the evening’s speaker David Townsend on his voyage around the world.

What an incredible adventure! David Townsend enthralled the club members with the story of his circumnavigation of the world in his yacht SV Pinta. If you have ever dreamed of doing the same then you need to listen to David’s story first. Yes, he had a wonderful time sailing around the Caribbean islands with their relaxed lifestyle, he saw beautiful sunrises and sunsets and he did visit 34 countries onPlan B, a solo circumnavigation.

Plan B, a solo circumnavigation.
Plan B, a solo circumnavigation.

Plan B, a solo circumnavigation. However, he had to endure two hurricanes, stormy seas, and while one freak wave nearly capsied the yacht it was immediately followed by another! The shroud wire, which holds the mast in place, broke on two occasions, forcing him to take quick drastic measures.

Being an engineer he was not fazed by a catalogue of breakages of steering mechanisms, pumps and various fittings caused by the storms or metal fatigue. Nevertheless he was able to relax and party with the natives where he anchored, such as in the Galápagos Islands where the local sea lions actually slept on board with him! David nearly got caught up in a civil war on the Ivory Coast and had to be rescued by the United Nations.

Davids route around the world.
David’s route around the world.

A United States Air Force unit, called the 45th Space Wing, looked after him while he was staying at the Ascension islands. Apart from the seas, David also had to negotiate two canals – the Panama and the Suez. Altogether it was an amazing story but it did take its toll on David – he was totally exhausted when he returned to Ramsgate harbour four years and 38,200 nautical miles later.