Hampshire & Isle of Wight

'Game over' for crowd-funded 'Pixel' boat sailor

Alex Alley Image copyright PixelBoat
Image caption Alex Alley has been forced to abandon his record attempt after suffering issues with the mainsail on his boat

A sailor hoping to become the fastest person to travel solo around the world in a Class40 boat has been forced to abandoned his record attempt.

Alex Alley, 48, from Gosport, Hampshire, was just over halfway having travelled almost 14,000 miles, (22,530 km) since Christmas Day.

A statement posted on his website said: "Sorry everyone, but it's game over for the record attempt."

Mr Alley is heading to Australia after developing a problem with his mainsail.

Posting on his blog, he said part of the track for the sail on his boat, the Pixel Flyer, had become damaged and his efforts to repair it had failed.

'Great regret'

"This means that I can no longer hoist the mainsail all the way up without it jamming - the bigger issue with this is getting it back down again," he said.

"It is with great regret, and a deep feeling that I am letting you all down, that I am going to have to retire from the record."

Image copyright Google
Image caption Mr Alley is heading to port in Australia

He sailed out of Gosport on Christmas Eve, aiming to cross the official start line in the English Channel on Christmas Day.

However, his wind instruments malfunctioned short of the start line and he diverted to Brest, France before resuming his voyage on New Year's Eve.

He had hoped to become the fastest mariner to make the solo trip in a Class40 boat, a deep-sea mono-hull racing craft with a length of 40 ft (12.19 m).

The current record for the journey in a Class40 vessel, set by Chinese sailor Guo Chuan, stands at 137 days, 20 hours, 1 minute and 57 seconds.

Mr Alley raised the money for the voyage by selling 5cm squares of advertising on the side of the Pixel Flyer - as well as corresponding pixels on his website.

The idea of selling pixels came from student Alex Tew, who sold pixels on his Million Dollar Homepage in 2005 to fund his university place.

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