Windsurfing around the whole of Britain - well most of it, not the Irish bit

Tomorrow Jono, brother of Gregg Dunnett is going to finally leave the shores in a first solo attempt to sail around the British Isles. This is something that we have been talking about since we were 16 (now around about the 40 mark, give a take a year each way). Fortunately in many ways due to family comitments I have managed to wiggle my way out of it over 20 years. Jono has had this firmly in the back of his mind all that time now.

Jono, who many might not know is an exceptional windsurfer and pretty good athlete. Should he be mentally strong enough, which I think he will be, probably being one of the most singlemindedly competitive people that I know, then he should achieve the goal.

Should fortune have fell his way a bit more then I don't think I would also exaggerate if I was to say that he could probably add that he has/had the skills to be one of the best raceboard sailors in the UK, even internationally. I remember back in our racing days him surprising many by taking many world champion scalps in racing on a dodgy old IMCO and Dolphin sail. Especially when it was windy in the most challenging conditions. Because of his attitude to hard conditions I am looking forward to his successful completion.

He is not rushing to do this. He has set up a network of people around the UK for some shelter, support and even to take days off if the conditions don't suit. To round the Scottish headlands safely will definitely need a specific set of conditions to be successful. The assistance of those volunteering to help him onshore will be essential. If you would like to be one of those volunteers, then there is a page on his website to help.

You will also be able to constantly monitor his position with a GPS feed, like used in round the world yacht racing. He will be in regular contact with us, and through facebook and his website, to give us thoughts on his journey.

It sounds amazing, and I wish him all the luck in the world. I hope that I can join in with his journey, if even for a day. I'll do my best to keep an update on here..:

This is what his website said about having to change the starting position:

Despite my most diplomatic efforts to have a London start sanctioned I now have to report a change of plans.
Port of London Authority are the controlling body for activities on the Thames and understandably like to know what is going down (unfortunate use of language, given the context) on the busy bits of river, so these are the people I contacted to arrange a Tower Bridge start. With some help from Phil Holman (Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre) I presented a seemingly reasonable passage plan request which was returned with (what seemed to me) a genuinely regretful rejection (albeit one based on a questionable interpretation of their own bylaws).
To cut a longer story short I appealed, had my application reviewed by their panel, and was rejected again.
The official reason for the rejection is that PLA consider windsurfing to be one of the ski sports covered by the 2012 by-laws:
13.1 A person must not engage or take part in water-skiing, aqua-planing, paddle boarding, swimming with a board, kite-surfing, wake-boarding, parakiting, or any similar activity...
Apparently windsurfing is covered by the "any similar activity" catch all. Whereas if I had been asking to sail down the Thames in a dinghy that by-law wouldn't have been a stumbling block.
Oh well, maybe there will be a change of heart once I've made it round. Better to direct my energies elsewhere than get too upset by this.
So, new start will be from my home patch, specifically the iconic global landmark that is Clacton Pier. Really not much change from London Bridge then.
This change means my start date is not determined by tide times as before, so I am taking the opportunity of getting on my way a little bit earlier. New start date/time will be 10am on Sunday 7th June (as Clacton is close to London the rough timings of when I expect to be at different parts of the coast don't change).
My apologies to anyone who had been thinking or made any plans to come along for the proposed London start, I know there were a few of you and really do appreciate the support.

This is what the local rag said about his journey:

A WINDSURFER is bidding to sail in to the record books by becoming the first person to make an unassisted solo voyage around Britain.
Jono Dunnett will set out on his 12ft raceboard from Clacton Pier on Sunday morning.
Ahead of him lies a gruelling journey of more than 2,200 miles – about 3,500km – some of them through treacherous waters.
Jono, 41, who lives in Hollandon- Sea, will head clockwise around mainland Britain.
The expedition is expected to take up to three months before he arrives back in his hometown, where he first took up the sport as a youngster.
“I can’t remember not being able to sail,” said the freelance IT expert. “I started in dinghies here at Gunfleet Sailing Club.
Then I learnt to windsurf and I haven’t stopped since.”
Jono says he once “scraped”
into the GB team for a world championships event – and has won the Round Mersea Island windsurfing race.
He also had 15 years’ experience as an instructor in Minorca, but has been dreaming of a round-Britain voyage since he was a teenager.
If he finishes, he will become the first person to windsurf around the UK without a support boat. He could sail up to 100 miles a day with the wind in his favour, but is more likely to average less than half that.
Training runs have taken Jono as far as Harwich and Maldon and back.
But the mammoth voyage will see him face far bigger hazards than the Essex coast can throw at him.
He said: “The scary bits are where there are strong currents and tides around headlands, or where you can’t get ashore because of cliffs.
“The Scottish coast is wild and there are lots of places where you are on your own.”
The adventurer will stay at the homes of well-wishers from the sailing community and people living by the coast at night where possible.
But he is also carrying a barrel containing a tent and camping gear, as well as a special dry bag for other essential kit.
His list of safety equipment includes a tracker which updates his position on his website every 30 minutes, VHF radio, strobe distress light and a personal locator for if it goes “horribly wrong”.
The quest is raising money for pancreatic cancer research and a charity which supports Tanzanian orphans and widows.
“It’s going to be physically challenging,” added Jono.
“I’m pretty fit, but I imagine it is going to be quite draining. It’s more physically demanding when it is windy, but you cover greater distances.
“I certainly won’t have any trouble sleeping at night!”
! To follow Jono’s progress or sponsor him, visit windsurf