Sailing from Summerside to the world

Alan Mulholland will sail by himself from Summerside, P.E.I., and plans to spend the next two years sailing around the world.

Alan Mulholland will venture across the Atlantic Ocean and then journey to the Caribbean

Alan Mulholland once solo sailed from B.C. to Brisbane, Australia. Now, he says he's ready to go around the world. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

Alan Mulholland has begun his adventure sailing around the world — by himself.  

Mulholland departed from the harbour in Summerside, P.E.I., on a journey that will have him crossing the Atlantic Ocean, heading towards Azores and the Canary Islands, and then heading from there to the Caribbean. 

It's a journey years in the making. Over the past year, he has spent every waking minute either planning, reading charts or building his boat, said Mulholland.

The first leg of his journey will take him past the Sable Islands as he ventures toward his first stop in the Azores. This part of the journey will take approximately three weeks, depending on speed, he said. 

But, that's just the start of his journey. 

"That's just me trying to get in a position to really start this whole thing," he said. 

From there he will work his way toward the Caribbean to enjoy the sailing there, he said.  After that, he will travel through the Panama Canal and into the South Pacific, said Mulholland. 

"And no, that's not the end of it either, at that point somehow, and I haven't decided exactly what to do at that point, but somehow I'll have to get the boat back to the Atlantic and the likely option is take it around Cape of Good Hope which is South Africa. That is a really big deal for a small boat."

Mulholland named his eight-metre boat Wave Rover as an homage to the ship his father served on in the navy. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

In total, Mulholland said he expects to be sailing for at least two years. 

"Any faster would be putting me in danger," he said. "Doing it slower, there's nothing wrong with that."

This isn't his first journey, he once sailed from B.C. to Brisbane, Australia, said Mulholland. But, he keeps finding himself captivated by these adventures.

"Because it's a solo thing, it's mostly about the independence. It's also about the challenge. And those things still reverberate in me, I'm still drawn to those types of things."  

Onboard Mulholland has all the safety gear required by the Coast Guard, from flares to floatation devices, emergency beacons and a communication device. Mulholland said he has close to 200 litres of water and more than three months of food, most canned by his wife Glenda.  

While Glenda is not joining him on the voyage, she will be flying to certain destinations to meet up with Mulholland and stay on the boat while she's there. 

Budget build 

Mulholland bought his 26-foot boat, Wave Rover, just over a year ago for $3,500. 

"This boat was pretty much ready for the boneyard," said Mulholland. 

He stripped the boat right down to its bones, and made the necessary repairs over the past year. 

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)

"Normally you would take two or three years to do this. But, I was operating at this breakneck pace. I mean every single day I was working on this project."

When thinking about the voyage, Mulholland said he first had to consider if he could keep the boat within his budget of $10,000. He's been able to stick to that budget, he said. 

Close to Home 

The inspiration for the name of the boat comes from his family history, said Mulholland.

When his father went to sea as a young man with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ships, supporting the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom, the ship he was assigned to was called The Wave Ruler. 

Inside Wave Rover, Mulholland will be sleeping on one of the bunks on either side of the boat. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

"I thought, this is a pretty close name to that, it was paying a certain amount of homage to that ship," he said.  

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About the Author

Travis Kingdon is a journalist with CBC P.E.I. He moved to the Island from Toronto in the spring of 2019.