Thursday, December 12th, 2019

Tropic4Cancer Challenge Crosses Finish Line

Published on February 4, 2014 by   ·   No Comments

Back in November we reported on the kickoff of Richard Mayon-White’s rather unusual solo transatlantic crossing – Tropic4Cancer.  Departing from Ocean Village Marina on Saturday 26 October, the 46 year old was undertaking a charity challenge where he, and his 6.5 metre yacht Haskapa, would follow the 23 degree north line of latitude 4,000 miles from Gibraltar to Fort Lauderdale.  29 days later he made landfall in Antigua and the challenge was declared ‘complete’.  But it was far from easy.


Setting off from Gibraltar, with no support team or weather router, Richard initially made good progress before being hit by a strong weather system.  Haskapa suffered damage including a broken kicking strap which caused leaking through the mast into the boat, as well as a leaking transducer, and Richard made a decision to stop at La Gomera in the Canaries to make full repairs.  “The delay was very frustrating for me,” said Richard.  “It put me about 1,000 miles behind where I could have been by that point and also extended my planned arrival schedule.”

After a week, the voyage resumed only for him to face the opposite problem – very light winds and sloppy seas which further slowed his crossing.  On 19 November Richard finally broke out of the “hole of doom” and he and Haskapa finally joined the Tropic of Cancer on 21 November.  Days of solitude, with little wildlife to see, ticked by, Richard blogging to relieve his boredom.


After 24 days at sea, on 25 November, Richard passed halfway point and, with the end in sight, began to attempt to manage expectations concerning arrival dates.  Mixed weather conditions from 20 to 25 knot winds to episodes of drifting in pure calm continued to typify the voyage and, across a particular one week period, he saw only one ship.

Richard blogged:  “As I get closer to Antigua, so the consequence of failure makes me ultra cautious of pushing too hard and breaking something else.  Breakages so far have included the wireless router, meaning that email access is limited, and the VHF antenna has also suddenly adopted a horizontal position at the top of the mast – the result of a very nasty squall.”

In his final blog at sea before entering Antigua’s Falmouth Harbour on 2 December, Richard said:  “As I approach civilisation, I’m already seeing more signs of life with aircraft and ships, and the fantastic sight of the frigate bird.  Soon this little Haskapa shaped bubble that I’ve been living in pretty much since leaving the UK nearly two months ago will nudge up against normal, everyday reality.  This project, driven by the desire to do something positive, has been a year in the planning, and encompasses a concept dreamt up mid ocean eight years ago, and a lifelong ambition.  Those are big rocks to carry, and it will be with some relief that I’m able to put that burden aside.”

The relief Richard felt when greeted dockside Caribbean by his wife Liz and two young children, must have been immense.

Speaking exclusively to MarinaLive! Richard said, “It would have been impossible to achieve the crossing without the backing of my sponsors.  The companies who sponsored me show just how much good there is in the commercial world.  The marine industry has been amazing, and reached out to help and support in an amazing way.  In particular, the team in Ocean Village Gibraltar made sure that the start of the crossing was easy and straightforward.  Even if it didn’t always continue that way.”

The motivating force behind Richard’s challenge was to raise up to £40,000 to be split equally between two great causes – the Sobell House Hospice in Oxford and the national charity Sail 4 Cancer.  Richard’s mother spent her last few weeks in the care of Sobell House, passing away just over two years ago in October 2011.  The loving environment offered by the Hospice was amazing and Richard has always felt the need to give something back. Sobell House looks after around 3,000 patients every year, offering support both on-site and in people’s homes.

Sail 4 Cancer gives respite to cancer sufferers, their families and young carers through days out on the water and sailing holidays. From the moment you are diagnosed with cancer your life is taken over by hospital visits, treatments, tests, uncertainty, and often, financial worries.  For a day or a few weeks, Sail 4 Cancer takes these cares away.  The charity was set up in 2001 by a group of keen sailors who had all lost a close friend or relative to cancer.  Richard has been involved in fundraising for Sail 4 Cancer since 2003.

Fundraising is ongoing but should end up being a very respectable £24,000.  To swell this total please visit:

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