PEI

Summerside man preparing to set sail for 3-year trip across the Atlantic

A man from Summerside is restoring an old boat to sail across the Atlantic for a nearly three year trip.

'I started this really 23 years ago so it's unfinished'

Summerside resident Alan Mulholland has spent the past eight months restoring the boat behind him in preparation for a three year journey across the Atlantic Ocean. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

It isn't the first time Alan Mulholland has done this. The Summerside man was 30 years old when he sailed on a solo mission across the Pacific Ocean.

He sailed for 122 days, eventually ending his trip in Australia. Ever since, he's dreamed of the day he could attempt the trip again, this time on the Atlantic. 

"I think anybody who gets on a sailboat becomes so passionate about sailing. And everybody gets that feeling when the wind fills the sails and you start moving," he said. 

Mulholland has spent the last eight months restoring a boat from the '70s that he purchased in Ontario. He said his wife Glenda came up with the idea.

'I’m bringing a journal so that I can record the thoughts. I’m bringing digital cameras so I can better record the experience. Because last time, I only took a handful of photographs,' says Mulholland. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

"I had lost my purpose for the first time as an adult. I was always doing something, either building … or operating a business," he said.

"Then here she said 'Alan, I think you need to get a boat.' It is funny because she was thinking in terms of building a little rowboat or a kayak … but it was an opportunity that I took to get a boat."

3 year trip

He plans on setting sail next year, travelling to the Azores Islands in Portugal. Then to either Australia or New Zealand where he'll spend up to six months, and after that, either Brazil, the Caribbean or the Canary Islands.

Though Glenda won't be joining him on his trip, she'll be meeting him at pit stops along the way.

Mulholland said he's doing all he can to mitigate the safety risks involved in a trip like this.

'I learned that independence and self sufficiency is something that is very achievable for anybody if you put your mind to it,' says Mulholland. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

He's purchased an emergency beacon, a floatation suit, and has even made — with the help of Glenda — a homemade drogue to increase stability and safety in the water.

Unfinished business

While most of his equipment is new or refurbished, he's bringing along one nostalgic item from his first trip. A navigation device called a sextant. 

"It's a tool very few people know how to use anymore. My class [at the Royal Military College of Canada] was one of the last classes to learn this," he said.

Mulholland says he thinks he's spent around $10,000 in total to prepare for this adventure. That includes his emergency supplies, building materials and his boat the Wave Rover. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

Mulholland said the first trip was an opportunity to learn more about himself.

 "On the previous trip, I deliberately set sail without any literature, without any books with me because I wanted the journey to be very much an inward journey. A journey not just across an ocean, but a journey to find out more about myself."

So what's to gain this time around?

"I started this really 23 years ago so it's unfinished."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Isabella Zavarise is a video journalist with CBC in P.E.I. You can contact her at isabella.zavarise@cbc.ca

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