It gives me enormous pleasure occasionally to meet people who are off on a long voyage who have previously done sailing or motor cruising courses with me. Two such people called into Vilamoura last week in a 46 foot ferro-cement long-keeled ketch called Leobhan.
The owner and skipper is Mike Colyer aged 38, a civil engineer who worked for local government in the east end of London.
Mike has been sailing for 22 years and did a 7-day sailing course with me four years ago. He has spent the last four years cruising on the English and French coasts by way of preparation for this gentle and safe passage round the world.
Mike’s first mate for this exciting ‘round the world’ voyage is Bob Simpson, Bob is also a civil engineer and worked in the same area as Mike as a local government officer. I have known Bob longer because he sailed with me for the first time six years ago and has done several courses with me. Bob’s first experience of sailing was as a member of a group of people who chartered a boat in the Caribbean, he enjoyed that experience but realized that if he were going to continue with his new interest he should get some formal training, and so came to me for several courses when I was running my ‘Algarve Sea School’ from Lagos.
Leobhan was professionally built in Glasgow in 1983. Lloyds monitored her construction and as a result of inspection by them at every stage of her construction she was awarded a Lloyds 100 A1 certificate.
Leobhan’s frames are made of mild steel with two layers of steel mesh attached to the frames to create the shape of her hull. The ‘concrete’ is applied simultaneously from both sides by a team of plasterers who must complete the job in a day to ensure that there are no dry joins. The total thickness of the hull at this stage is 7/8”. A fairing coat of sand and cement ¼ thick is then applied to both sides giving a total thickness of almost 1 ½”. Leobhan carries a total of 200 gallons of fresh water held in concrete tanks. Her fuel tanks are made of galvanized steel set into the concrete hull.
Her accommodation consists of two single berths in the after cabin, three bunks in the fo’c’s’le and two in the saloon. Throughout the interior Leobhan is beautifully finished in teak, with heating radiators in every cabin, run by the back boiler in the diesel fired oven, for use in cold weather. There are two toilets and a separate shower compartment with hot and cold water.
On board is all the safety and navigational equipment that I would expect on a vessel doing a circumnavigation, such as GPS, DSC/SSB, DSC/VHF, EPIRB, Navtex plus extra power from two large solar panels, a wind generator and a diesel generator.
Leobhan is now ashore in Gibraltar for just ten days where Mike and Bob are antifouling her and giving her hull and underwater fittings a final inspection before their passage to Madiera, the Canaries, Cape Verde Islands and then across the Atlantic to Antigua. From there they will cruise through the Caribbean to the Panama canal, through the canal, across the Pacific to the Galapagos, the Marquesas, Fiji, Tonga and then New Zealand where they hope to arrive by this time next year. From there they will sail north of Australia and into the Indian Ocean, stopping at the Maldives, Madagasca, Durban and Cape Town and back to England via the west coast of Africa.
The trip of a lifetime!! It certainly is and I wish Mike & Bob fair winds, they expect that their circumnavigation will take approximately two years and I will follow their progress with interest.
Martin Northey - Yachtmaster Examiner/Instructor for Sail and Power
The Iberian Sea School - RYA Sailing, Motor Cruising and Powerboat School
Apartado 1039 - Vilamoura,
8126 - 912 Quarteira,