All aboard the Gulliver for round UK voyage

By Ethan Heppell   |   Apprentice Reporter   |
Sunday 29th May 2022 4:00 pm
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Bill Foley from Shaldon who will be sailing around the UK
(Steve Pope © / MDA )

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A SHALDON skipper is weeks away from embarking on a monumentous journey.

73-year-old Bill Folley is planning to travel around the UK in his seaborn vessel in a bid to raise money for the RNLI.

Bill is set to depart from his home port of Teignmouth on June 20 in his twin-screw motor boat ‘Gulliver’ and navigate a clockwise route around the UK in a journey anticipated to take some 35 days.

‘The idea is to utilise marinas and safe ports around the coast which become few and far between the further north you go especially on the north-east coast... but that’s part of the challenge!’ he said.

‘The first port will be Dartmouth, then Falmouth, Newquay and on to to Padstow and so on,’ Bill explained.

The plan of attack for the Shaldon-based skipper is to cruise for a few hours, pull into a marina in the late afternoon and then relax, eat and get a good night’s sleep ready for the off the next day.

‘I am apprehensive of running over fishermen’s pots and getting them would in the propeller – that is a serious consideration because that would involve getting under the boat and cutting them off.’

‘Having said that, the propeller shafts are fitted with rope cutters – first and foremost it would be best to avoid them but sometimes they are badly marked and pop up right in front of you and before you know it you’ve got one round your prop.’

Bill Foley from Shaldon who will be sailing around the UK
(Steve Pope © / MDA )

The weather is, of course, another factor on Bill’s mind.

‘It is essential to monitor the weather conditions all the time but you can get caught out.

‘The last thing, funnily enough, is the midges on the west coast of Scotland, I haven’t experienced them yet myself.

‘My wife has given me the strongest anti-bug repellent, I’d just hate to be bitten up there but I probably will do!’

The ex-Merchant Navy man, whose last sea going job was in 1998 driving a Condor fast cat, has been a small boat owner all his life thus it was no surprise the RNLI would be his first port of call their came to supporting a charity.

‘I have always appreciated what the RLNI do for everybody around the UK and it’s an adventure I wanted to do at my age of 73.

‘I felt like a challenge and I thought well, it’s ridiculous to do a challenge and not let somebody else benefit from it so I got in touch with the RNLI headquarters in Poole and they were very helpful in guiding me towards the best ways to fundraise.

‘I have managed to set up a fundraising page and already people have been remarkably generous.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity that saves lives at sea: this end is achieved through lifeboat search and rescue, deployment of lifeguards, water safety education and flood rescue.

For those looking to help Bill out on his journey, you can donate to his JustGiving page here -

Bill also has a YouTube channel chronicling his exploit, which can be viewed here -


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