A 71-YEAR-OLD sailor has returned to port after an epic two-year round-theworld journey.
Jeffrey Allison accomplished his dream when he arrived back in Hartlepool.
Mr Allison said he was pleased to be back on dry land having overcome a number of setbacks during his journey.
He set sail on June 10, 2007, aboard The Lucky Dragon, and yesterday returned in his new yacht Eshamy. He took the loss of his first yacht in the Bering Sea in his stride.
“When I set off, I planned to take the unusual route and thoroughly enjoyed the adventure,” said the retired mining engineer, from Middleton Tyas, near Richmond, North Yorkshire.
“There are things that have happened throughout the trip, but when you have seven or eight plans you usually get through, although it did get worrying sometimes when I was down to just one or two
When he set off from Hartlepool he had his son, James, 31, and novice sailor Phil Welch onboard.
The men were the first sailors to complete the journey through the Northwest Passage, in the Arctic circle, in a fibreglass boat.
They took only 20 days, which is believed to be another record for a sailboat. They are also the first Englishmen to sail the route westwards in one season.
The closest he came to catastrophe was in the Bering Sea, when two men he had onboard decided they had had enough and wanted to get off.
“I contacted a local fishing boat and asked them to come and get them,” he said.
“However, when the boat arrived, there were 15ft waves, which made the task a little bit difficult.
“Unfortunately the boat clipped my yacht and damaged the wires that hold the mast in place, but it was just one of those things.
“I managed to source another yacht and continued with the trip.”
He began the voyage by sailing to the Orkney Islands, Faroes and then Iceland, before travelling round the west side of Greenland and then through the Northwest Passage to Alaska. He then sailed
down the west side of Canada, and across the Pacific to Hawaii and then on to Fiji.
After Fiji, came Australia and then a journey along the barrier reef to Darwin, across the Indian Ocean to Mauritius and then on to Cape Town, in South Africa and then on to the Azores, before
sailing along the east coast of England and arriving at Hartlepool.
He said: “I have some wonderful memories, sailing along the Barrier Reef was fantastic and sailing alone for 32 days on the Atlantic was certainly challenging.”
He was met in Hartlepool by his son and daughter Catherine, who also joined her father on some of the legs of the journey, and his wife, Prue.