The Round Britain '17 crew covered 2,206 nautical miles in 17 legs to complete their circumnavigation of the British Isles aboard the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust yacht, Moonspray

26 September 2017

It has taken 126 days, but the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust Round Britain 2017 crew have finally completed their circumnavigation of the British Isles.

The voyage began on 20 May 2017 from the trust’s base at Largs on the west coast of Scotland.

Since then, more than 125 young people in recovery from cancer from across the UK have been involved, covering 2,206 nautical miles in 17 legs.

Dame Ellen MacArthur said it had been “fantastic following all the adventures of the young people” during Round Britain 2017.

“It’s an amazing journey to sail around Britain and I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who’s made it happen,” she said.

“It has massively helped us raise the profile of the trust; for every young person we can take sailing, there are nine we can’t, so in any way you can, please do help to support us,” added Dame Ellen.

The final leg of the voyage left Belfast on 19 September with a night stop in Glenarm, Northern Ireland, before making the last major passage of the voyage, across the Northern Channel to Scotland

Crew on board a yacht wave

Celebrations on board. Credit: onEdition

Ryan Campbell, 22 from Gourock, was on board for the final leg and had the pleasure of helming Moonspray as they sailed back across the finish line.

He summed up what the experience meant to him: “I feel absolutely honoured to be involved in the last leg of Round Britain. It’s such an amazing cause and there’s nothing else like it out there. It’s not focussed on being ill, it’s about surpassing what you think you can’t do and everyone rises to the occasion.”

Ryan first sailed with the trust in 2014 after treatment for osteosarcoma at CLIC Sargent Scotland and Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre.

He continued: “I come back to the trust because it’s something I fully believe in. I can see the difference in the other young people by the end of the trip. At the beginning, we’re all quite quiet and shy and by the end we’re so vibrant.”

Those who turned out to welcome Moonspray and her crew home included some of the young people who had sailed with the trust as part of the Round Britain voyage and Scottish Trust ambassador and Olympic silver medallist, Luke Patience.

Patience spent time with some of the crew during the Scottish legs of the Round Britain voyage.

“Its been amazing for me to be part of this and to meet some of the young people, hear what they’ve been going through and how the trust has helped,” he said.

“Half way through this journey I came onboard with the trust as an ambassador and its been an extremely humbling experience for me. Its been something that more recently has come close to my heart so I’ve been absolutely honoured to be part of this and share some stories,” added Patience.

A turquoise and white yacht entering a marina

Arriving home. Credit: onEdition

Since the voyage began, the crew has visited 58 ports, towns and cities, helping to raise awareness of the trust.

They have also visited 12 cancer treatment centres around the UK to meet young people still undergoing treatment to help inspire them in seeing what is possible after cancer.

The CEO of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, Frank Fletcher, said: “This summer, the trust has taken over 550 young people sailing from around the UK of which Round Britain has played a huge part.”

“The achievements and future potential of every single one of those young people continues to inspire me. To watch this voyage touch so many people around the UK and to see the combined achievements of this trust crew has been amazing,” he added.

22 May 2017

After months in the planning, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust Round Britain 2017 voyage set sail from Largs, Scotland on Saturday, 20 May.

This 2,400 mile voyage will see more than 100 young people take part in a national sailing relay around the British Isles, stopping at over 60 towns and ports in a celebration of recovery, achievement and potential.

Largs is home to the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust’s northern base where they support young people in recovery from cancer and help them rebuild their confidence following treatment.

Dame Ellen MacArthur, founding patron of the trust, officially started the voyage as the Trust’s 44ft flagship yacht Moonspray crossed the start line at 1415.

Speaking to supporters in Largs Sailing Club in advance Ellen said: ‘Round Britain 2017 gives us the ability to take the message of the Trust, but most importantly the young people who have sailed with the Trust over the years, around the country to let people know what we do, how we do it and to let the public meet the young people and see for themselves what this is all about.’

Round Britain 2017 Map

Guests including families of the crew and trust supporters were invited to join the crew at Largs Sailing Club in advance of them crossing the start line, where they had a chance to ask questions to some of the young people in recovery from cancer taking part.

Krissi who is 21 from Hertfordshire first sailed with the Trust in 2009 and has returned for many trips since.

Now joining the Round Britain 2017 crew for leg 1 as a volunteer for the Trust, Krissi explained the difference the Trust makes to young people like herself: ‘As a young person, the fact that you get the opportunity to be in a situation with people who are like you, and have had the same or similar experience to you, is just an amazing thing. Because you get put back into school where everyone just views you as the ‘ill’ one, that just becomes your personality. When sailing with the trust, where actually everyone was ill, you get to understand who you are as a person and make yourself into an older person and grow so much. As a graduate volunteer, seeing the other young people grow so much over the four day trips is an amazing experience.’

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national charity taking young people aged between eight and 24 on sailing trips to help them rebuild their confidence after cancer treatment and re-engage with education, employment and society.

Uniquely, the charity offers long-term support to the young people they work. Round Britain 2017 forms part of the ‘return to sail’ trips with all the young people taking part having previously sailed with the trust, whether that be a year ago or 10 years ago.

Frank Fletcher, CEO of the trust said: ‘To find the confidence to re-imagine a positive future following a cancer diagnosis, young people need support over time.’ He added: ‘That is why we’re embarking on arguably our most ambitious project ever – the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust Round Britain 2017. The memories these young people make and the personal triumphs they will achieve will help bring back into focus positive options for their futures.’

Find the latest voyage updates at:

The intrepid Round Britain crew are now making their way up the Firth of Clyde to Glasgow where Ellen will meet the crew and they will join young people still undergoing treatment for cancer from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children to share their own experiences of treatment.

Look out for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust Round Britain 2017 crew as they moor up in Glasgow’s Pacific Quay between 24 to 26 May and follow as they move port to port through Scotland over the coming month.