Weston sailor returns after attempted solo voyage around the world

PUBLISHED: 07:26 07 August 2019 | UPDATED: 07:42 07 August 2019

Uphill Yacht Club pontoon.  Andy Press on his sailing boat, Greenfingers.     Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Uphill Yacht Club pontoon. Andy Press on his sailing boat, Greenfingers. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Archant

A sailor from Weston-super-Mare whose sanity was pushed to the limit during a failed attempt to circumnavigate the world cannot wait to get back on the ocean.

Andy Press on his sailing boat, Greenfingers.     Picture: MARK ATHERTONAndy Press on his sailing boat, Greenfingers. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Andy Press battled loneliness, sleep deprivation, engine failure and leaks during his quest to sail solo around the world non-stop.

But the 42-year-old has vowed to fix up his beloved boat, Greenfingers, and return to the seas to fulfil his long-term dream of sailing from port to port.

Andy, who gave up his IT job at the Weston Mercury, set off from Uphill Beach in July last year, but his voyage was plagued with problems from the get-go, and it took him a week to leave the UK.

Uphill Yacht Club pontoon.  Andy Press on his sailing boat, Greenfingers.     Picture: MARK ATHERTONUphill Yacht Club pontoon. Andy Press on his sailing boat, Greenfingers. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

More: Weston sailor prepares for non-stop solo voyage around the world.

He said: "I had all sorts of problems just getting out of Weston Bay because of the wind.

"The control rope for the self-steering gear also broke - things started breaking right from the start. I started thinking 'what the hell am I doing?'"

Uphill Yacht Club pontoon.  Andy Press on his sailing boat, Greenfingers.     Picture: MARK ATHERTONUphill Yacht Club pontoon. Andy Press on his sailing boat, Greenfingers. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Andy experienced his first storm around the Bay of Biscay, when he was battered by 8m waves and near hurricane force winds.

Greenfingers suffered a gas leak and flooding due to a leak near the rudder, forcing Andy to abandon his voyage after six weeks.

He headed for The Azores to get his boat repaired, but just two hours from shore his engine blew up and he was towed in by the Portuguese Coastguard.

The weather was too bad for him to return home, so he spent a bleak winter in The Azores, which almost broke him.

He said: "It was five months of non-stop storms. It was absolute hell. It didn't do my sanity any good.

"That's where I lost most of my weight due to the mental strain of it all. I never felt lonely at sea, but that's when I got lonely."

Andy set sail for the UK on June 5, but faced a broken fan belt and alternator and the ship's rudder fell off as he approached Brean.

His quest may have pushed his sanity to the limit, but Andy is determined to return to The Azores to prove to himself he can.

He said: "There were a lot more downs than ups, but the ups were absolutely spectacular and made up for absolutely everything else.

"The winter in the Azores is where I failed. I want to go back and spend a winter there.

"My long-term plans have always been to sail off and never return. I want to do a lot of work on the boat, then sail from port to port and make a living going round the world."

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