Retired businessman Mark Ashley-Miller, 56, sets out from Dartmouth today (29 March) to circumnavigate the UK and visit every Harbour Master on an epic two-year voyage.
Mark is sailing his 34ft ketch ‘Good Dog’ from harbour to harbour in a clockwise direction around the UK, with the aim of meeting as many Harbour Masters as possible and asking them questions in order to gather a unique record of them, their harbours and their work.
He is doing this in support of Seafarers UK, raising money for the charity and awareness of men’s mental health in the maritime industry.
Has anyone does this before? There is no record of such a trip – so maybe it’s a first?
Will Mark sail alone? For most of the trip Mark is being joined by friends and family, although his boat can be sailed single-handed. Volunteer crews are welcome!
What type of boat is ‘Good Dog’? A Nauticat 331 mono-hull motor-sailor ketch with a 75hp engine. She is 34ft long, sleeps six and was made in Finland.
Can you follow his voyage? Yes. Using any marine traffic app, search for ‘Good Dog’ and see Mark’s position live!
How many Harbour Masters are there in the UK? It is estimated there are 459 official Harbour Masters in the UK, plus part time, seasonal, private and volunteer Harbour Masters. There are also Pier Masters and Slipway Masters.
How long will the challenge take? It is estimated to take at least two years, depending on the weather.
How will the challenge be recorded? To record the challenge, Mark plans to ask every Harbour Master that he meets a couple of questions about their work:
~ What is the unique fact or feature about your harbour?
~ What is the most unusual thing you have done or experienced as a Harbour Master?
The results will be recorded on Instagram and published after completion.
What charity is Mark supporting? The primary charity being supported is Seafarers UK (formally King George’s Fund for Sailors, launched in 1917). Seafarers UK has been helping people in the maritime community for over 100 years, by providing vital support to seafarers in need and their families, and to those in education or training who are preparing to work or serve at sea. The charity does this by giving grants to organisations and projects that make a real difference to people’s lives. In particular, this challenge will highlight mental health issues in the maritime industries. Beneficiaries of the charity will also be visited on the circumnavigation. www.seafarers.uk
When not sailing, Mark is Church Warden to a tiny church in Lillington, Dorset, and 10% of the money he raises is going to its restoration fund.