Fèis Mara na Hèaradh is offering people the chance to hear from battling round-world sailor Andrew Halcrow tomorrow night (Wednesday July 24th).
Andrew, from Shetland, has sailed more than 100,000 miles as skipper on sailing boats, both large and small. In his twenties, he built an ocean-going yacht Elsi Arrub which he sailed around the world with his brother. He then took on the challenge of solo sails around the world – facing major crises when he had to be airlifted off his boat between Australia and Africa after falling ill.
The yachtsman was 350 miles south west of Australia when he was struck down with crippling stomach pains and sickness. He was able to ring his home and Shetland Coastguard raised the alarm. The UK coastguard liaison station got in touch with their Australian counterparts and a tanker was sent to Mr Halcrow's aid. He had emergency surgery to have his appendix removed.
That was in 2006. Andrew set off again seven years later in the same boat which had later been rescued and fully restored, but she lost her mast off South America and he was rescued once more.
Alasdair Macleod, former chairman of the An Sulaire Trust, says: “Andrew is an amazing guy. I met him first of all when the three-masted sailing ship called the Swan was in the Hebrides…the Trust organised for The Swan to visit the islands twice to take schoolchildren out on sailing trips.
“The second time the Swan was here, they were sailing to Stromness from Stornoway on Saturday as they had to be in Orkney on Sunday for a fish festival.
“One of the crew took ill and couldn’t sail so they were a man down. Andrew asked me if I would sail with them to Orkney and I jumped at the chance.
“We left Stornoway at 6pm and sailed through the night through the Pentland Firth and arrived in Stromness at noon on Sunday. It was an exhilarating and exciting experience.”
The talk starts at 7.30pm in Sir E.Scott School. Admission is £8.