Student takes to the high seas

Alastair Carr
Alastair Carr
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A brave Sheffield student who has overcome a brain tumour will be living life on the ocean wave by sailing around the UK single-handedly.

Alastair Carr, who studies railway engineering at Sheffield Hallam University, is preparing to set off on a solo voyage, circumnavigating the country in a yacht.

The 24-year-old was diagnosed with a tumour 16 years ago, which has left him with limited mobility on his right side.

He was inspired to take on the challenge after signing up for a sailing weekend with the Ellen MacArthur Trust, and plans to follow in the yachtswoman’s footsteps by starting his journey at the end of May.

Alastair will set off from Hull - as Dame Ellen did in 1995 on her first solo UK trip - before travelling north towards Scarborough, Whitby and Middlesbrough.

He will then sail around Scotland before making his way back down the coast of Wales and around Land’s End, finishing in Hull again.

“I want to do this to prove to myself that I can,” he said. “I’ve spent my whole life overcoming adversity and this is an opportunity to show people what I can do.”

Alastair added: “It’s so inspirational having someone like Dame Ellen to look up to, and I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to meet her too.

“She found strength in adversity when she set her world records and I’m hoping the thought of that helps me overcome barriers like these.

“I think I’m fully prepared for the trip, but I know I need to expect the unexpected while I’m out there.”

The student has named his boat The Flying Scotsman, a familiar name from his Hallam course, and said he has ‘fallen in love’ with sailing since his weekend with the trust.

“I thought it sounded like a great charity because they take young people sailing, and I thought that would be brilliant,” he said.

“I only really went on the trip to see how other people had coped with brain tumours and different cancers and I ended up loving sailing.”

In advance of his trip, Alastair, from Lincolnshire, has completed a skipper’s course with the Royal Yachting Association.

“That gave me the confidence and let me know I can go out and sail on my own,” he said.

He has also been talent-spotted by the RYA’s disability racing team.