Barry sailor set for epic voyage in aid of Help for Heroes
4:40pm Thursday 24th January 2013 in News
A BARRY Yacht Club member will soon set sail on an epic voyage – following in the wake of his sea-going heroes who made the same trip in 1962.
Sheamus Devine is preparing to take on the near-9000 nautical mile return journey from Falmouth in Cornwall, to Aden in The Yemen, in a painstakingly restored 23ft yacht, in aid of Help for Heroes.
And he hopes to offer an injured serviceman the chance to help him sail the seas on the voyage, which was inspired by the trip made 51 years ago by Julian Howard and former SAS man Peter de la Billiere.
They left Falmouth on board the 23-foot engineless Cape Albercore in March 1962 – and Sheamus will set sail on board Crystal Wake, which will slip her moorings from the same location around March 17.
His route, like that of the 1962 adventurers, will take in the treacherous Bay of Biscay, the West Coast of Spain and Portugal and the Gibraltar Strait, before heading through the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
And he will take on the challenge in an £800 fin keel boat he acquired from a young sailor who got caught in the Rannie, a stretch of water in the Bristol Channel.
"The seabed shallows around that area and it becomes very dangerous,” said Sheamus, 42.
"He got the fright of his life and brought the boat here (Barry Yacht Club) and put her up for sale.
"I poked my head into the cockpit and was dismayed to see rotten ply locker lids and rotten washboards, and that a once beautiful hardwood veneered hatch was covered with flaking varnish and the wood beneath was a mold-covered slimy green.
"She looked sad. Somebody had named her Bugweed. I nearly cried."
A construction project manager, originally from County Clare in Southern Ireland, he rebuilt Crystal Wake over six months, installing a cooker, toilet and sink, dropping the mast and fitting a VHF antenna, tricolour and wind vane, together with other works.
And in a twist of fate, he found a copy of Peter de la Billiere's autobiography Looking For Trouble, at Barry Yacht Club during the renovation - inspiring his forthcoming voyage.
"I couldn't sleep at night,” said Sheamus, 43.
"Then I made the decision to do it. And I thought that out of gratitude to Peter and respect for our fighting men and women I would try and raise some money for Help for Heroes as I recreated the voyage.
"I need another crew member so then I thought why not ask a recovering service person to sail with me?
"Help for Heroes has a Band of Brothers organisation for recovering injured soldiers. I have asked that a request be made to them for crew. I am hopeful that one member would like to sail with me to The Yemen."
Sheamus is also looking for help with his journey, with any marine charts of the West Coast of Spain/ Portugal, Western and Eastern Med and The Red Sea needed on a keep or loan basis.
He is also appealing to the sailing community for a loan of a four-man life raft.
* To contact Sheamus with any assistance, such as sponsorship, sailing kit or food supplies, email firstname.lastname@example.org
* To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/falmouthtoaden or write c/o Barry Yacht Club.
* You can also support Sheamus by joining Facebook group www.facebook.com/FalmouthtoAden