Adventurous Catholic sailor completes 2,400 trip around Britain in aid of Stella Maris

An adventurous sailor has completed a “very unique” 2,400-mile voyage around Britain for a Catholic charity.

63-year-old Russ Fairman, who boasts more than 30 years of sailing experience, embarked on a 70-day sailing pilgrimage in aid of Catholic charity Stella Maris. He visited more than 50 ports and holy sites during his voyage, including the Shrines of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk, Our Lady of the taper in Wales, and the holy islands of Lindisfarne (with its historical connections to St. Cuthbert and St. Aidan) off the northeast coast of England.

On board the 35-foot sailboat ‘Mintaka’, Russ also welcomed strangers who wanted to be part of his adventure to sign up as crew members.

He said: “You can zip around the UK in a fast rocket ship and do it in a very short time.

“But the unique thing about this trip was that we were going with complete novices on an open invitation just to show up. It was all very unique. It’s very different to just going on a holiday and touring around Britain.

“I’ve got some people from my own parish of Southampton but other people are just complete strangers, and they don’t know each other either. They get on the boat as strangers, and they get off as friends.”

While life at sea has been fun, Russ said he missed his friends and family.

“I miss my wife, children, and grandchildren a lot. I’ve been away for so long that I am now getting homesick. But they’re supportive of what I’m doing.

“They know it’s a good thing and I’ve had their support, which has been absolutely lovely.”

At sea, Russ had the opportunity to see beautiful coastal scenery and sail next to dolphins and other wildlife.

His voyage ended at 9am on Sunday at Gunwharf Quay in Portsmouth.

He then walked to St. John’s Cathedral in Bishop Crispian Way to celebrate Mass with members of the Royal Navy.

“They were a tight knit crew of four to six who enjoyed this incredible opportunity. We’re glad to welcome them back safely.’
Story by William Kelly, Catholic Network and Shivalika Puri, Southern Daily Echo