After nearly a year of planning, and on schedule in favourable conditions, Richard Mayon-White and his 21 ft (6.5m) yacht Haskapa crossed the start line of his solo Tropic 4 Cancer Challenge at just before 11am (GMT) on the morning of 26th October, at Ocean Village Marina in Gibraltar.
His first day at sea was spent in light winds punching into the current that flows from the Atlantic into the Mediterranean, passing Tarifa, the most southerly point of Spain. Day two luckily saw the wind increase enough for some fast broad reaching and by this morning (Monday) Haskapa was clear of the straits of Gibraltar and eating up the first of the 4000 miles that lie ahead.
Richard’s voyage will take him down the western coast of Saharan Africa, before arriving at the Tropic of Cancer at 23 degrees north. He will then head west along the Tropic before fininshing at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.
Richard, an experienced ocean sailor who has also already rowed double handed across the Atlantic, is aiming to raise £40,000 to be split equally between two great causes, the Sobell House Hospice in Oxford and the national charity Sail 4 Cancer, which gives respite to cancer sufferers and their families through days out on the water and sailing holidays. He is already half way to achieving that sum.
As he left the dock, waved off by his wife Liz, and family, he said “Thank you so much to everyone who has helped and supported this project over the past year. The hardest part is getting to the start line, and it wouldn't have been possible without the help and support of my family, friends and fantastic sponsors!”
Richard's progress can be tracked by logging onto his website at www.tropic4cancer.com and clicking on "Live Tracking". This will update Richard's position every 4 hours. Updates are also on Facebook and Twitter.
Just visit www.tropic4cancer.com and click on "Donate".