Fran's Big Adventure

06/05/2010 18:50:46
Frances Gifford
Dear All,

So the plan is looking like coming to fruition. For those of you not aware I am planning to sail my newly acquired wayfarer - Viper - around the UK. Starting next Saturday 15th May. I had been hoping to start from Ranelagh which would have been great as it's where I live but the tides are all wrong, so now looking like Waldringfield in sunny Suffolk (the tides aren't so great for that either :-(). So it is going to take in the region of 100 days and I will be stopping every night. I don't intend to sail single handed and have a number of crews lined up, many of whom are merlin rocket sailors....happy days. Most people are doing between 3 and 6 days, I am of course doing the whole lot. I have a very lovely boom tent which I am hoping not to have to use as there seem to be lots of people around the coast keen to offer me and crew a bed for the night.....

It will be for charity, details to be revealed very soon and the usual justgiving links will be posted, I will also have a website which is nearly ready to go, I just need to write something and post some pictures etc, and then start blogging..... you don't have to read any of these things.

Sea trials start tomorrow....

Anyway - just thought I'd keep people up to date, I think I first started talking publicly about the idea about 18 months ago when I sold my 12, so that's quite a long time to have bored people with the subject.

I may not get all the way round. I have more than a road map and a sat nav, in case anyone was wondering. (I have my grandmothers charts from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, how much can possibly have changed.....)

Thanks to all for continuing support, if anyone has any useful tips for the more difficult navigational sections, headlands, long coastlines with no harbours, beach huts with the key hidden behind the sand dune, then please get in touch. All help and advice gratefully received.....

For info.....


06/05/2010 19:21:34
Fran you are mad but I love it! Count me in for sponsorship and wow... well, good luck! If you pass anywhere near us u know you have a bed! Oh and I have an aunt in scotland who lives near the coast! xx

06/05/2010 22:32:40
Bloody hell, this is a big adventure! I hope you have informed Y&Y. They did a big thing on that Laser circumnavigation many years ago (Land On My Right).

A warning - I think you ought to clarify if you are rounding the UK/Britain/England because there is a special bunch of grumpy pedants who seem to lay in wait for people like you, and when you go through the Caledonian Canal (or whatever it is) they get arsey. Gits!

Good luck!

06/05/2010 23:29:30
Mrs Tosh
Fran, how did I forget this.... my Aunt (of kind) lives in Tresaith and would surely put you up, she's amazing and would love it!. We await our instructions! Heck this is REAL now. xx

07/05/2010 08:50:32
Garry R
As a north east of Scotland resident I could put you up in this area if I am around when you are here - fly in the ointment is that my daughter is getting married "doon sooth" in July and I am away the latter part of August.  But other than that no problem.

07/05/2010 09:05:21
Before you go, dont forget to look at the wonderful series of videos called "Keep Turning Right" on U-Tube.

07/05/2010 13:16:01
Good luck, doubtless you have read Frank Dyes account of cruising his Wayfarer (Now in the NMM at Falmouth.) to Iceland.

07/05/2010 13:33:47
Actually, I suggest you DON'T read Dyer's book - isn't one of them a scary account of how a voyage went wrong?

07/05/2010 13:49:25
Well he lived, and so did the boat, the sea is a dangerous place.

07/05/2010 14:33:19
Sorry, Dylan Winter is going the other way around the UK! His videos are called "Keep Turning Left"!


07/05/2010 15:50:31
Good luck Fran, sounds like a real hoot..

Jon Thompson

07/05/2010 23:06:05
Fran, sounds a bit hairy but I'd like to be your wing man anytime...

08/05/2010 12:46:58
David Wilkins
So it really is happening!!

Fran remember that you have a bed here anytime & possibly a crew for a brief leg.

Good luck!

16/05/2010 00:12:53
Fran has launched! The website is under development (badly) 

Check out
16/05/2010 18:22:23
F and Soph are now safely in Whitstable having safely crossed the Thames Estuary.  I suspect that they are in the bar at WYC as i write, but i guess they could have popped home to Sophie's for a shower.


p.s. Andy, I have emailed some photos to you of the launch/departure, let me know if they do not come through.

17/05/2010 10:36:16
Mission Control
Have popped them on thanks.

17/05/2010 10:37:06
Mission Control
Link has been fixed back to :

Apologies for confusion
19/05/2010 12:20:48
Frances Gifford
Thanks for all the emails and offers. It is appreciated. Rachel, it looks like we might be whizzing past Hayling but will definitely let you know if that changes. For those of you following the Fran Finder, we can't leave til 3 today as Viper is very comfy in the mud. 

Enjoy the inlands, am sad not to be there.

21/05/2010 05:14:58

25/05/2010 12:17:47
Fran left Lyme Regis and the hospitality of Dan earlier today, heading for Brixham and hopefully Salcombe tomorrow.

She's fairly pegging it round under a combination of sail, motor and tow - I'd highly recommend reading her blog for the full story!

The sponsorship side of things is now up and running and linked from her website, along with the daily blog, franfinder, a map of her journey so far and schedule for the next few days.
25/05/2010 23:05:37
Frances Gifford
Dear All (again),

Thank you again for all the messages. The charity side of this event is now up and running. Many of you have been asking how to donate, and the easiest answer is to go onto and click on the donate button.

It is for two excellent causes, the Shining Life Childrens Trust which supports disadvantaged children in Sri Lanka and the RNLI who I am hoping not to need but I seem to increasingly be talking to people who have been rescued by them and are eternally grateful for their assistance.

Anyway - its quite a big challenge, that is going very well so far, I type from Brixham having left from Waldringfield 11 days ago, if you would like to donate to my chosen charities then that would be great.

Thanks again to everyone that has been involved so far in providing me with accoms, coming out for a meal or drinks, coming sailing, offering their sailing skills etc....

Franny G
27/05/2010 22:47:13
John Murrell
Frantastic - she's made it to Salcombe!

see -

05/06/2010 11:10:37

12/06/2010 14:30:50
Frances Gifford
Dear All,

Thanks again for all the support and contact etc.

Just trying to push the charity side a little bit as it's going quite slowly. Of course thanks to all the people who have sponsored me already. It may sound like one big holiday for me, but it is quite hard too.

And the causes are important and worthwhile.

So...if you are enjoying the blog, which lots of people are saying they are....then maybe a couple of quid to support these two fantastic charities could be a nice option.

Lots of merlin sailors are involved, I currently have the chairman on board, Ellie up soon, bumped into Boris and Debs in the street in Abersoch today, all good!!

(Abersoch is really quite a long way from Waldringfield where I started!!)

Thanks in advance.

14/06/2010 12:46:22
Mrs Tosh
Made our donation today - it's very easy!

18/06/2010 18:02:31
Anyone know how you get to crew Fran on say part of the big adventure?


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