Thursday, 15 July 2010

New Blog Site!

Hi Everyone,

I've had a really exciting last week which has been pretty packed I have to admit!

I've decided to move this blog over to another 'name'.

This has been done as it's a lot simpler and easier to remember, I don't know why I didn't do this in the first place! Also more importantly, from this site, I will be posting all my blogs for my next big adventure. There will be a big announcement coming in little over a week so watch this space!

See you all on,



Saturday, 3 July 2010

Round the Island Race

Hi all,

Sorry about the silence recently, I’ve been meaning to do this blog for a while now.

The Round the Island race was brilliant fun. I was racing on the Prostate UK cancer boat representing one of the four charity boats. It was brilliant because it was just like a race within a race. I wasn’t too concerned about our overall result. I just wanted to get a result within the charity boats. It was a very exciting race, there is simply none other like it in the world. To head out to the start line soon after 5am and see literally hundreds of yachts filling the Solent is quite a sight I have to admit.

It was a downwind first leg and we got a cracking start accelerating across the line with the spinnaker up. I was happy to see we had an early lead on the other charity boats which we held nicely up until the needles. At this point we had a bit trouble dropping the spinnaker and unfortunately lost around 300m (a lot in racing terms!). Another charity boat caught us up and they then went off inshore to take that tactical route. We stayed offshore as did the other two charity boats.

At the south of the island where all the boats rounded the point (St Catherine's light house - a great reference point for positions) we saw that our offshore route wasn’t as favourable as the inshore one and the Macmillan cancer support boat took the lead.

We were still in second place maintaining a healthy distance over the other two boats and I was happy with our tactics as we came up to the Bembridge Ledge on the east of the island. The Ellen Macarthur Trust boat at this point had made up a good bit of ground and were trailing us by around 150m.

They were able to point higher (brand new sails I’ll add!) and so I was a little worried tactically as they would no doubt try to come up over us and nick our wind and take the lead. The whole team onboard our boat worked really hard with the trimming and we were able to defend our position very nicely all the way to the finish line. I was really chuffed how well everyone worked together onboard and it definitely paid off as we came back in a well earned second place.

The racing was great fun with just the right blend of competitiveness. We didn’t ding anyone and had very few mishaps so I was a very happy Mike at the end of the day. Great racing from all the charity challenge boats too!

Since the race I have been doing a few talks to some schools as part of our VocaLink Live the Dream school programme and I have also been working a bit towards my next adventure.. (can’t tell you what that is yet, but hope to be able to announce something in a couple of weeks!).

Excitingly I’m heading out to Australia at the end of the month to speak at the Sydney Boat Show which I’m really excited about. It’s going to be a fantastic show with lots of exciting attractions!

This next coming week I’m doing a couple more school visits and excitingly I’m also flying out to the Isle of Man courtesy of Canada Life International to speak at a charity event where we are raising money for Project 21. See for more info on who they are.

Don McIntyre is flying into the UK soon and it will be fantastic to catch up with him and hear all about the Talisker Bounty Boat Expedition. One of the most important aims of the expedition was to raise money for the Sheffield Institute Foundation and the guys on the trip certainly worked seriously hard doing so! Please keep donating! See for more info.


Thursday, 17 June 2010

Back home

Hi all,

I’m back home now in the UK after what was a seriously fun trip out to Australia. I met some amazing people and it was really great to stay with Jess’s family. Thanks guys!

First and foremost I want to say congrats to the guys who have just completed the Talisker Bounty Boat expedition. They arrived in Kupang not so long ago and it was great to see some photos of an extremely elated crew. See for more details.

It’s good be be home again after my time out in Aus and I’ve been busy planning my next few weeks. I’m doing a few talks here and there, a couple of school visits, I’m racing in the Round the Island race on Saturday raising money for Prostate UK and just in general having lots of fun!

Need to get packed for heading down to Cowes tomorrow morning.


Friday, 11 June 2010

Thinking of Abby

Yesterday when we heard that Abby Sunderland's EPIRBs had been activated and her team were unable to contact her, we were extremely concerned for her and her family.

This morning we were very relieved to hear that a spotter plane had been mobilised, had located and spoken with Abby.

We understand she has been dismasted and a fishing boat is on it's way to meet with her.

We're all hugely disappointed for her but she has proved to be of very strong character and very capable. Sailing around the world as we all know is a huge undertaking at any age and the chances of being dismasted in bad weather are relatively high.

Our thoughts continue to be with her and her family. We look forward to hearing when they are reunited.

Mike, Fiona, Peter and Heather

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Good times

Hi all,

I’m currently writing this off Ella’s Pink Lady. We’re sailing up the Aussie coast up from Sydney to Mooloolaba just north of Brisbane and it’s been a pretty hilarious journey so far without a doubt.

Have also had time to reflect on what a great time I had in Sydney. To say I was well looked after would be a complete understatement. So, to anyone I met and if you are reading this… THANKS.

We pulled in to a lovely little port on the coast and spent a night there. Then last night we sailed through the night to make some better progress up the coast.
It’s been fantastic to get out to sea again and although I did feel a little sea sick on our first night out from Sydney I’ve got my sea legs now which is really great as my appetite is back too! I always like to be well fed onboard and I’ve been pretty impressed with Jess’s cooking I have to admit.

The wind is starting to die off now which is a little frustrating but I’m enjoying being up in a little warmer climes.

I'm really looking forward to arriving in Mooloolaba on Sunday


Monday, 31 May 2010

Sydney to Mooloolaba

Mike is now sailing up the Australian coast to Mooloolaba with Jessica Watson on board Ella's Pink Lady. They sailed out of Sydney under cover of darkness with a third unidentified sailor aboard to share the workload...well that's what the papers are saying.

They will stop a couple of times along the way to say thank you to people who have helped Jess.

Mike has had an amazing time in Sydney and been made so very welcome he says it would be a great place to live.

Apologies for not keeping everyone in tune with what Mike has been doing...He says there has been no internet connection where he has been staying...and I checked his personal hotmail which has also been pretty it must be true! ...but still a weak excuse.

Ella's Pink Lady is planned to arrive in Mooloolaba next Sunday for a scaled down Sydney reception, then Mike will fly home a week later as he will be sailing on the ProstateUK Cancer entry in the Round the Island Race which he is really looking forward to...and I would also take part if anyone has a spare place?


Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Fun in Australia

Hi All,

It's been crazily fun here in Sydney over the last couple of weeks. I flew out a few days before Jessica Watson's arrival to get used to the jet lag and to also do a full run through of Jessica's arrival on the water with the guys co-ordinating it all. Jesse Martin (previous youngest person to sail single-handed around the world) and I had been given the fun task of helming Ella's Pink Lady from the Sydney Heads all the way up the Opera House, which was a pretty exciting prospect. We were also reporting live for Channel 10 and One HD right off Jessica's yacht which was certainly going to be a laugh.

The day before Jessica arrived, everything in Sydney was really hotting up. Signs were put up all over the city telling everyone to expect a major 'class 1' event on Saturday. The city was really welcoming Jessica home! The news was packed with items about Jessica too.

I met up with Jesse Martin outside his hotel in Manly on the morning of Jessica's arrival and we walked down to the ferry to grab one over to Circular Quay in the heart of Sydney. After arriving and picking up a bite to eat, we were briefed about our role in the reporting and then we headed out in a chase boat with a full camera crew to go and find Jess. And she was late! Jess crossed the line two hours after her 'scheduled arrival time' but I wasn't surprised in the slightest. I think it's somewhat a tradition for solo sailors to be late.

The flotilla around Jessica was totally huge with reports of up to 1500 boats in the area which is pretty mad. The buzz in the flotilla was amazing though and I sure couldn't take the grin off my face. I was very lucky to be on one of the official chase boats as we were allowed inside her 'official cordon'. With all the spectator boats, there were about 8 police boats marking off the area around her so that no spectators boats could come close enough to risk a collision. Jesse Martin and I then jumped into a rib and we motored over to Jessica and boarded Ella's Pink Lady to help Jessica guide her up the harbour with such a huge armada of boats around her. It was fantastic to jump aboard and hand Jessica some FRESH FOOD! She immediately found the fresh cream!

We motored up the harbour, did a load of live crosses off the boat on TV and about half an hour later, we safely berthed at the Sydney Opera House. Jessica was greeted by thousands of cheering fans on the shore. The atmosphere was just so electric it sent shivers up my spine. Jessica jumped off into the waiting arms of her parents and family and it was fantastic to see them all reunited again. Jesse Martin and I then finished berthing Ella's Pink Lady and then followed Jessica up the pink carpet into the area right in front of the stage reserved for her close family and friends. Her speech was pretty awesome and I was pretty darn proud of her.

Jessica was then whisked off to her press conference and after that was finished Jesse Martin and I sailed Ella's Pink Lady around to the Maritime Museum where she was due to be quarantined. We later caught up with Jessica at a small but brilliant get together at a hotel in Manly where all her close family and team were. Amazingly, there was Jesse Martin, David Dicks, Brian Caldwell, and Jon Sanders there too. Six people who had sailed solo around the world before in the same room and four of us who had once been the 'youngest'. It was brilliant to meet these guys and we all had a great laugh together.

Since Jessica arrived back it's been a brilliantly fun week. I've been surfing with Layne Beachley (7 times world champion), diving with sharks, helicopter flying, bridge climbing, and even spent a bit of time out on the water but to name a few of the things that I've been up too. It's been non stop fun here in Manly.

Jess, I, and a couple of others are going to sail Ella's Pink Lady up the coast next week which should be good fun and I'm looking forward to getting into some warmer climes.