Alastair set to sail around the country

Alastair Carr EMN-140428-124450001
Alastair Carr EMN-140428-124450001

He has battled adversity for his entire adult life, and now Alastair Carr is preparing for a challenge of his own - sailing round the United Kingdom.

24-year-old Alastair Carr from Wood Enderby was diagnosed in 1998 with a brain tumour which has left him with limited mobility in the right-hand side of his body.

After a chance invitation to the Isle of Wight to take part in a sailing weekend with The Ellen MacArthur Trust Alastair has now turned to sailing.

Now the Sheffield Hallam University student is preparing to sail single-handedly, quite literally, around the country.

Alastair is planning on following Dame Ellen’s footsteps as he sails round the UK, beginning his journey in Hull at the end of May after he has finished his final year of University studies.

The ex-Banovallum School pupil told the News that he first became involved in sailing through the Ellen MacArthur Trust after finding out information about the organisation at University.

“I thought it sounded like a great charity because they take young people sailing, and I thought that would be brilliant.

“I really wanted to meet other people who had been through the same experiences as I had.

“I ended up speaking to the CEO of the Trust as I could only find his contact details and he asked me if I could go to Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

“So I went down there and had a beautiful four days of sailing and fell in love with the sport.

“I only really went on the trip to see how other people had coped with brain tumours and different cancers and I ended up loving sailing.”

In preparation for his round-the-UK trip, Alastair has been practicing by sailing up and down the River Witham most weekends.

“I’ve also completed a skippers course with the Royal Yachting Association,” Alastair continued.

“That gave me the confidence and let me know that I can go out and sail on my own.”

Alastair will be setting off from Hull as Dame Ellen did in 1995 as she began her first solo UK trip.

He will then travel north towards Scarborough, Whitby and Middlesbrough before sailing round Scotland then making his way back down the coast of Wales and round Land’s End.

After coming round the West coast of England Alastair’s last stops before returning to Hull will be Gibraltar Point and Grimsby.

He has named his boat The Flying Scotsman as he is studying Railway Engineering at University.

“I want to do this to prove to myself that I can do it. I’ve spent my whole life overcoming adversity and this is an opportunity to show people what I can do.

“It’s so inspirational having someone like Dame Ellen to look up to, and I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to meet her too.

“She found strength in adversity when she set her world records and I’m hoping the thought of that helps me overcome barriers like these.

“I think I’m fully prepared for the trip, but I know that I need to expect the unexpected while I’m out there.”

Alastair has also been talent spotted by Matt Grier who is the RYA’s Disability Racing Development Coach.

When asked if he could see himself crossing the Atlantic some day Alastair replied: “Who knows? Let’s see what happens.”