Record-breaking, round-the-world yachtswoman Jeanne Socrates is returning to Britain to sail the last leg of Tikka’s Around Britain Sail with Steve Pointon and family.
Steve, his wife Kaz and 13-year-old son Harry are three months into a challenge to sail their 28ft yacht, Tikka around the United Kingdom.
The challenge, which began in June, is raising funds for Action for Children – a national charity that supports the most vulnerable and neglected children and young people in communities throughout the UK
Along the way, the Pointon family will be joined by extended family and friends, both at sea and on land, with Martin Torbett leading the land section and cycling approximately 4,000 miles.
Jeanne will be flying back from Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada – where she is preparing for her next round the world trip – to join Tikka in Plymouth on 15 August.
Steve said: ‘Jeanne is absolutely amazing really, I met her a few years ago when I was serving in the Royal Navy. I saw an article about her circumnavigation challenge to become the oldest woman to sail non-stop, unassisted around the world.
‘I read her blog and sent her a message saying ‘It’s fantastic what you’re doing, representing the best of British spirit. You’re now the armed forces pin up.’
‘She really liked it and we kept in touch. When we bought the boat, I got a message from Jeanne who happened to be in the UK. She was the first visitor we had on board, we met in Gosport and went for a meal, then sailed into Weymouth. She told me on the quiet that she was going to go around the world again.
‘Jeanne’s going to fly back from Vancouver where her boat is and join us in Plymouth on 15 August, and, weather permitting, we’ll be sailing into Weymouth on 17 August to celebrate Jeanne’s 74th birthday.’
Steve didn’t discover sailing until he was about 30 years old. In the Navy, he had a sport session every Wednesday but did not enjoy playing football. He asked his coach what else he could do and was told ‘You could try something la-di-da and go sailing with the officers’.
Steve said: ‘I gave it a go and loved it and haven’t looked back since.
‘My wife Kaz and I had planned to buy a boat in my retirement when Harry was grown up but then we went to see a lecture by Scottish mountaineer Jamie Andrew who lost his hands and feet after suffering severe frostbite and hypothermia during a climbing accident.
‘Jamie’s a great speaker and he said “If you’ve got a dream or challenge you want to do, go and do it now, don’t wait until it’s too late”.
‘We felt like he was looking at us, even though he was just looking at the audience. Six weeks later we bought a boat.
‘I went to Action for Children and said if you give me a flag and a bucket I’ll see what I can do. We said to friends that if they wanted to donate £100 to the charity they could come sailing.’
About the challenge
Using both sail and pedal power, the environmentally-friendly Team Tikka have already exceeded their goal of drumming up £10,000 for the charity, by raising more than £14,300 and counting via their Virgin Money Giving page.
Action for Children offers more than 650 services, helping to transform the lives of 300,000 children, young people and their families. They’ve been doing so for more than 145 years.
The children and young people they work with face the most difficult problems in life. Some don’t have the basics – from the love and care of family to regular routines such as mealtimes or the guidance that all children need to grow to be healthy adults.
Others have to overcome physical or emotional challenges that hold them back. Action for Children helps them to fulfil their potential by providing services to support their individual needs, helping to overcome difficulties at an early stage and tackling problems before it’s too late.
Kaz said: We adopted Harry when he was six. He had a difficult start in life and we’re delighted to have been able to offer him a loving and caring home that he needs. We would like to see all children in our country have a better chance in life which is why we chose Action for Children. It’s a national charity that is passionate about helping vulnerable children and young people and we hope to raise a lot of money and raise awareness of the great work they do.’
The UK has some of the strongest tides in the world and weather that, even in the summer months, can bring strong winds and poor visibility, but this doesn’t faze the Pointon family.
Steve was in the Navy for more than 24 years, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan working with Sea King helicopters from 845 and 846 squadrons based in Yeovilton.
He still serves as a chief petty officer as a reservist on 700X squadron based at Culdrose. He’s been sailing with his wife Kaz for about 20 years starting with Navy charter yachts on the Solent and has the experience to take on this beautiful but very challenging voyage.
Martin Torbett, a friend of Steve’s, was inspired by the Pointon’s quest. He climbs and cycles regularly as well as working as an outdoor pursuits instructor.
As he’d already completed four cycle charity events in the past, he willingly signed up to join the Tikka Challenge.
Martin, 65, will cycle around the UK approximately 4,000 miles (6,000 km) at the same time as their circumnavigation.
Both the Pointons and Martin left Gosport on 4 June 2016 to travel anticlockwise round the entire coast. Their expected finish date is 20 August.
They are currently in Cardiff where they were towed into, having been rescued by Penarth RNLI volunteers after suffering engine failure.
Jeanne Socrates, who made history three years ago when she became the first woman to sail solo non-stop around the world from North America and the oldest woman to sail solo non-stop around the world, is joining the Pointon family for the final leg of their journey.
Jeanne, who is currently based in Canada having sailed up from Acapulco, Mexico in June and July, said: ‘I’m flying in to sail last leg of Tikka’s Around Britain Sail with Steve Pointon who has raised a goodly amount for ‘Action for Children’ – charity that helps abused kids among others… He finishes at Gosport on 20 August.’
The challenge will mark time out for Jeanne who is preparing to attempt another solo non-stop and unassisted circumnavigation, starting this October 2016 in her Najad 380 yacht Nereida.
Another successful completion of this challenge would see Jeanne, who turns 74 on 17 August, break the Guinness World Record of being the oldest person to achieve this.
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