It was always going to be a mighty challenge. Two novice sailors attempt to sail an eighty- year old boat around Britain’s coastline – in three months!
As hostage in Beirut, John McCarthy dreamt of sailing on a wooden boat, savoring the freedoms of the open seas. Two years after his release, the fantasy becomes reality as he teams up with his old friend, comedian Sandi Toksvig on the yacht Hirta.
Setting off from the southernmost point of the British Isles, a rock near France, John and Sandi soon have a chance to get used to the vagaries of the British Weather. As they progress clockwise, they drop in at nearly fifty ports and harbours. On their way they discover hidden tunnels left by the Nazies on Alderney; meet John’s fellow hostage Brian Keenan in Belfast; visit a Scottish island bought by Buddhist monks as a retreat; get hopelessly stranded on the Norfolk Broads and meet a whole lot more of Britain’s coast-dwellers.
Island Race is the story of two friends trying to come to grips with sailing as they circumnavigate Britain. With the occasional attempted decapitation, moments of real excitement (and fear) they gather together a portrait of this island’s coastal communities.