Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Crowd-funded 'Pixel' boat starts yacht record bid

Alex Alley
Image caption Alex Alley already hold records for sailing around the Isle of Wight and the length of Britain

A sailor has embarked on a crowd-funded attempt to break a circumnavigation record.

Alex Alley, 48, from Hampshire, aims to become the fastest mariner to make the solo trip in a Class40 boat.

He raised the money by selling 5cm squares on the side of the yacht Pixel Flyer and corresponding pixels on his website.

He expected "the highest highs and lowest lows" during five months at sea.

Mr Alley has been based at Haslar Marina in Gosport.

He sailed out of Gosport on Christmas Eve and is due to cross the official start line in the English Channel on Christmas Day.

Image caption Alex Alley sailed out of Gosport Harbour on Christmas Eve

Speaking before embarking, he said he was "very excited, nervous and anxious".

"There is a record to be had - there will be a whole lot of highest highs and lowest lows.

"I love the challenge of seeing what I'm capable of."

The idea of selling pixels dates back to the Million Dollar Homepage in 2005 which student Alex Tew sold pixels on a webpage to fund his university place.

Mr Alley said people had uploaded company logos to fill the "pixels" on the side of the yacht, but also personal messages and family photographs.

"One girl has uploaded a picture of her father who passed away - she said 'Dad always wanted to sail around the world, now he can'," he said.

The current record, set by Chinese sailor Guo Chuan, stands at 137 days, 20 hours 1 minute and 57 seconds.

Another solo round-the-world sailor Susie Goodall was rescued earlier this month after capsizing 2,000 miles west of Cape Horn.

The 29-year-old Briton lost her mast when her boat pitchpoled during the non-stop Golden Globe Race.

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