Back to news

Interview with Alan Rankin


  • How are you Alan?
I am very well thank you.

  • Have you recovered from your remarkable adventure?

It took me a few weeks to get back to normal life. My job is very much desk bound so it has been a struggle to get back to the grind. The trip has given me a real sense of satisfaction having planned the whole challenge from conception to completion involving over 60 people at ports, shore crew, sponsors and charities. The bottom line is I got home in one piece, Trade Winds was in one piece, I had not put anyone else in danger and raised funds for charities.

  • What would you say is your over riding memory of the journey, something that will really stay with you?

Without doubt the most remarkable aspect of the trip was the people I met along the way. At each port I was welcomed and hospitality offered. The kindness was quite remarkable.

  • Could you remind us just how much money you raised and where it has been distributed?

So far just over £7000. The fundraising ages will close in March 14. Each charity has been paid on a regular basis thanks to the Just Giving pages I set up linked to I am firmly of the mind that if we can put brains and cash together cures for diseases that can blight families can be cured, every penny counts.

  • Where is the boat now? Have you used it much since you got back?

Trade Winds was back on her berth in Ullapool on the NW Coast of Scotland for the summer. I did manage to get some weekend sails but after being away at sea for 6 weeks there were some other priorities to catch up with.

  • How does it look and how have the Hempel products held up?

Trade Winds has had a hard season to put it mildly. She has sailed at speed in open oceans, slopped a round in holes in the wind and lay in berths in thick-silted tidal harbors. The hull remained clean all season and in all conditions which is testimony to the Tiger Xtra antifouling. The topsides held their shine throughout the voyage and so helped to retain the 'slip' factor. To help with safety on deck I coated all working areas with Hempel non-slip deck paint that performed well in all conditions providing sure footing.

  • What do you think sets the Hempel range apart from the others available?

Proof is the excellent condition that Trade Winds was in at departure and as I returned to Ullapool after 2,400 miles in a real mix of waters and river estuaries.

  • What aspects of the journey would you consider as highlights and were there any moments where you wondered quite what you were doing?
Two moments stick with me among the many experiences. The first was the leg from Brighton to Poole, not the longest leg but one that was a fair test. After 60 miles of, beating from Brighton I hit the St Catherine's Point right against the tide and in the middle of a  blow. The sea was very choppy and having not sailed in these waters before was spooked by the warning of tidal overalls. After a good chat with my shore boss who asked me if I was in danger, was the boat in danger, did I have daylight, when was the tide to turn? And what would be the impact of turning and running off east. After a further uncomfortable couple of hours I rounded St Catherine's and blitzed along the south coast off IOW at 10+ knots before tacking away from the Needles for Poole.

The second moment was the sector from Scillies to Fastnet on the Falmouth - Dingle leg. two days sailing north west with the sun setting to the west then rising again in the east, rolling overhead and going through another rotation and each evening have the 'Plough' appear in the jet black skies ahead of the forestay. Moments like that remind you of the place each of us have on this earth and the elements being in control of all we do.

  • Are you anticipating another venture of a similar nature?
Yes, first priority is to win back the Scottish Islands Three Peaks Race in 2014. Having won it for two years on the trot I took the year off to do the SRB trip so it's back to some long hill runs to get fit for the race in May 2014. I have a project at the early stages of planning for 2016 but its too early to say anything about that just yet. It does involve open water and coastal sailing, but not singlehanded, and for good measure some big hill runs!