On November 4th, I left Plymouth to sail solo around the world by way of the three great capes, the Cape of Good Hope, Leeuwin in Western Australia and Cape Horn. I will be sailing Rosalba, a 60- foot monohull built in 2002 and extensively refitted and prepared for the voyage.

The passage is some 27,000 miles and could take around 110 days. Fewer people have completed such a voyage than ascend Everest in a single year (at this point just 199 have made the solo voyage compared to more than 4,000 who have summited Everest, with now around 800 attempts a year).

I have been fortunate to help build Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research (SMSR) to what it is today, as a trustee, and for six years, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. In 1983 David Tolkien, my late brother, was severely injured in a car accident and admitted as a patient to the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville. We had sailed together, including completing the 1982 Round Britain Race. David devoted the rest of his life to fundraising for the National Spinal Injuries Centre. He died in 2014.

It has been a lifelong ambition to complete a circumnavigation of the world under sail. I hope that my voyage will help draw attention to the work of, and research funded by, SMSR to promote the quality of life for spinal cord injured people. The charity is not involved in any way with the financing of this project.

You can follow my progress at: https://my.yb.tl/Rosalbavoyage

To view Rosalba in all her glory...visit  

See the latest updates on social media @lifeafterpara #richardsolochallenge and on my blog at https://www.lifeafterparalysis.com/blogs/richard-sailing-solo  

If you would like to find out more about my challenge, please email [email protected]