Tim Gardner's 29ft yacht will leave Gosport on 5 July and circumnavigate the UK for eight weeks

Tim

Gardner is looking forward to swapping the London commuter train

from Alton for a sailing voyage of a lifetime.

After 18 months of planning, Tim, 46, from Medstead will be setting sail from

Gosport on a circumnavigation of the United Kingdom.

He will depart on Saturday, 5 July, on his 29ft Westerly Konsort, called Moonstone, on an eight-week voyage around the UK. He aims to raise money for

the RNLI along the way.

Despite being in the ‘final countdown phase’ and undertaking last minute jobs such as fitting a fridge, Tim is still seeking additional crew, especially for the return leg from Inverness to Harwich in mid-August.

Tim said: ‘I think we can accept additional crew with only 48 hours notice.

‘At the moment l have at least 1 member of crew all of the way around down to Hartlepool. Thereafter l am on my own. However l will continue to advertise for crew.

‘We have lots of space for the east coast return from Inverness to Harwich.’

The route

The 2,500-mile journey will take in the

Scilly Isles, the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, through the Caledonian Canal

and then down the East Coast to Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Moonstone will then rest in Newcastle before completing the journey back to

Gosport next Easter.

Tim caught the sailing bug just over four years ago when he

proposed to his wife that they could ‘pick a hobby that we can do together’. A

sail to Guernsey, followed by another trip to Dartmouth, identified the flaw in

the plan. Jo, Tim’s wife suffers from awful sea sickness.

Moonstone held her own in last year’s

race around the Isle of Wight with a valiant crew that included Phil Miles and

Esther Silver from Alton; they narrowly missed a collision with many but not all of the 1,900

other sailing boats as they made their way out of Cowes.

For the last nine months,

the boat has been out of the water being refitted so that she is ready for the

journey around the UK.

Last weekend, Tim, Phil and Esther, along with crewmates Bradley and Mark Gardner, took part in the light-wind edition Round the Island Race.

Pre-voyage jitters

‘There are bits of this trip that are beginning to give me

sleepless nights’, says Tim. ‘In the Mennai Straight for example there are

whirlpools that will spin a boat. But there are other parts of the journey that

should feel truly magical.’

The last time Tim and Jo sailed to Dartmouth, there

were 10 porpoises swimming with the boat. Jo will join the trip at various

points. She will fly to Isles of Scilly, covering the same distance that will

take Tim a week in only 30 minutes.

But Tim will not be on his own for all of

the journey. He is looking for additional crew to take part in this exciting

journey.

To contact Tim, email Moonstone1968@btinternet.com

Follow’s his progress via the Making Way page on Facebook. Tim says: ‘I would not be able to make this journey without the support of

friends and colleagues.’

Fundraising

Tim’s biggest thank you goes to the RNLI after he called

them out last year, when one of his crew hit her head in rough weather.

He

said: ‘The support provided by the RNLI to amateur sailors is truly amazing.

They were on the scene within minutes and took the casualty to the hospital as

a precautionary measure.’

Tim is hoping to raise £5,000 for the RNLI during

this trip and will be participating in fundraising events at RNLI

stations as he travels around the UK. Find the RNLI donation web page here.

Picture: Tim Gardner (second from right) practising by taking part in the Round the Island race with Bradley Gardner, Esther Silver, Mark Gardner and Phil Miles