Alan sets off on high-seas adventure

Alan Dowey is sailing around the world solo and non-stop. INLT 40-617-CON
Alan Dowey is sailing around the world solo and non-stop. INLT 40-617-CON
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A NEWTOWNABBEY adventurer has set out to become the first person from Northern Ireland to single-handedly sail non-stop around the world.

Thrill-seeker Alan Dowey, 55, is currently cruising south across the Atlantic Ocean on his 36 foot yacht, Cheal, after setting sail from the Azores last month.

The epic journey will see Alan follow the old clipper sailing route, which will take him south of the world’s Capes, and he hopes to arrive back in the Azores in about nine months - just in time to catch a flight back to Northern Ireland for the birth of his second grandchild.

Alan’s daughter Marilyn Braden, who lives in Whitehead, told the Times she was extremely proud of her father for taking up such an incredible challenge, but added that the whole family would be “constantly worried” about Alan until he was safely back home.

“He has a satellite phone which he got specifically for this trip, so no matter where he is in the world, we are still able to bother him,” she added.

“When asked why he is doing this, he simply says ‘Why not?’ He has been called many a thing over this challenge - a wandering soul, a free spirit, but to us, his three children, it is just dad doing what he loves best.”

Alan grew up in Rathcoole in a family full of sailors and now lives in Portmuck, Islandmagee.

Read the full story in this week’s Times...