Hi I’m Ray 

Thank you for visiting my Website.

In April 2008 I set sail in my yacht Christine Marie on one of the most challenging adventures of my life, a 2-year sail around the UK in support of the charities Rethink, Marie Curie and the RNLI. 

On return to my home port of Lymington on the 18 September 2009 I had sailed a total of 3000M, visiting 100 ports and harbours around the UK and Ireland on my 2-year figure of eight, circumnavigation. A great adventure, fulfilling the dream I set out to achieve when I started sailing in early 2004.

Click here to see video of my return:   

It’s been a great adventure, living my own personal ‘Coasts’ and ‘Islands’, popular TV programmes, from on board my yacht Christine Marie. Sailing so many miles and navigating the coastline into unfamiliar harbours in all weathers has tested my relatively short sailing experience to the full and has given me a strong sense of personal achievement late in life. 

My trip has only confirmed what I strongly believe: in the UK we have some of the most beautiful and stunning scenery around our coastline that I have been able to cruise at leisure throughout my 2-year passage, taking time to visit ports, harbours and lovely unspoilt islands, anchorages and moorings along the way. Also, that with preparation and determination anyone can achieve the dreams they aspire to in life. 

Both on land and at sea we were able to observe an abundance of seabirds and other marine wildlife. Whilst sailing and at anchor we regularly saw seals, dolphins and, whilst sailing to Inverness, sighted a 40 ft Sperm Whale, that  unfortunately beached and died just three days later off Cromarty in Scotland. 

It has not all been plain sailing. During my 2-year cruise I have experienced sailing in some very strong winds up to 45 Kn, rough seas, including my first aborted attempt to cross the Pentland Firth and the large swell met in parts of the Irish Sea during July 2009. Christine Marie had handled these well.  I do not mind admitting that at times the challenges ahead seemed daunting and there were moments of self-doubting that I had to put aside. My passage took me into my ‘uncharted waters’ as I navigated to my most northerly point in the Orkney Islands, then making my longest ever 140M Ocean passage from Cork across the Celtic Sea to my most southerly destination for my first visit to the lovely Isles of Scilly.

Christine Marie is a reliable, well-equipped yacht, but anyone making a passage of this length should be prepared for the unexpected to occur at some point in their travels. I had been tested earlier on my passage with jammed and cut wind /VHF radio cables in my mast and later the loss of engine due to a hard to trace blockage in the engine cooling system whilst on passage to Inverness in 2008. The most testing time was when, at the end of a 30 hour sail across the Celtic Sea in August this year; we were caught by a lobster pot line around our rudder at the entrance to New Grimsby Sound, Tresco, Isles of Scilly.  With a strong swell and tide running, surrounded by rocks it was a potentially dangerous situation. Clear thinking and good teamwork between my crew brought us out of danger and safely into harbour under our own power. It took us two days to remove the tangled line around the rudder, with some exciting moments drying out alongside the harbour wall at Tresco to cut it free!  🙂

But my adventure would not have been possible without the support of others. The patience, training and guidance given to me by my friend and RYA trainer, Noel Smith, of Moonfleet Sailing in Poole gave me the knowledge and confidence to safely embark on my cruise and I was encouraged and supported by family and friends.

Throughout my cruise I have met friendly support from complete strangers, other sailors, those I have met by chance, ashore in pubs, in libraries, at locks, on trains, etc. ; I found it very humbling. In particular the people of Scotland and Ireland gave me a very warm welcome during my visits there.

During my cruise I was in regular radio contact with hundreds of licensed radio amateurs who followed and supported me as I progressed around the coast. When half way across the Celtic Sea and out of contact with both the Irish and UK coastguard VHF stations, it was reassuring to make strong clear radio communication with five radio amateurs in the UK on 80m SSB.  My thanks to all the radio amateurs who made contact and to Practical Wireless Magazine, Southgate ARC, The Irish Radio Transmitters Society and the RSGB who helped promote my challenge to amateurs so widely around the World.

Finally, I have to thank the 28 different family, friends and others who joined me as crew at various stages throughout my journey. Their sailing skills ranged from complete novices, to those with RYA sailing qualifications ranging from ‘Competent Crew’ to ‘Yachtmaster Instructor’.  For me, sailing with others and making new friends along the way is an important and enjoyable part of sailing. I recognized at the start of my journey that finding crew to join me would be one of the most difficult challenges I would face. I could not have done it without them.  Photos of all those that joined me are on my website.

Sailing round the UK was not the only objective I set myself before setting sail in April 2008.  I wanted to give back something to those charities that had been important in my life. Through my cruise and with the support of others I set out to raise a minimum of £1000 for each of the charities Rethink, Marie Curie and the RNLI.   At the time of writing, donations have reached a total of over £4182 (plus £740 Gift Aid) and I am confident that this figure will increase further as new donations and those already pledged come in.

A big thank you to everyone who has supported the charities and me during my 2 year adventure. My story, with full details of each leg of my passage, along with photos can be seen on this website

There are also links where donations can be made to my supported charities.  Please visit my charity sites and help me achieve support for these charities that do such good work in support of those needing the help of others.

Thank you 

Ray Oliver   

Christine Marie on passage Northshields to Amble

Christine Marie on passage Northshields to Amble

 How to Navigate around

  • Click on the menu above to open my web pages and to view my BLOG (Passage Diary).
  • More details about myself, how my cruise came about, plus the story of my daughter Anne can be found on the right under LINKED ARTICLES.
  • An index to earlier entries of my passage, not showing in this BLOG , or quick access to all passages with faster loading, can be accessed under BLOG ENTRIES.
  • DONATIONS can be made online using the DONATE HERE PLEASE links on the right of the page or using the Buttons provided.
  • Links to sponsors and other sites in FAVOURITE LINKS.
  • You may contact me on Email: roundukcruise@aol.uk