Alan Denham

Content Creator and Instructor

Moving to the South Coast as a teenager, it didn’t take me long to get afloat and start sailing. Firstly in dinghies, then larger and larger yachts. I was lucky to spend many years volunteering with a Sail Training Organisation which taught me not only good seamanship but many important life skills. Despite a varied career including IT and Conservation, sailing was my passion, and teaching it was the ‘icing on the cake’. I first passed my Instructor ticket over 20 years ago and teaching on and off the water over the last 2 decades has become my way of life. When not teaching, I cruise in my own sailing boat around northern Europe and I never tire of ‘dropping my hook’ in some remote anchorage far from the bustle and hassle of modern living.

Sailing Highlights

When I was in my thirties, I travelled to New Zealand with my girlfriend. With limited funds, we bought a 12’ dinghy and cruised 450 miles along the NE coast of the North Island, camping on the beaches, it was a great adventure.
In recent years, I’ve had some great opportunities to teach in some unusual destinations. Teaching an RYA Yachtmaster course in Patagonia and getting the certificates stamped at Cape Horn Lighthouse!
Numerous trips to the Falkland where a cruise around the archipelago means not seeing another boat in 2 weeks.
Sailing in Greenland and Iceland. I really wanted to see an Iceberg and a Polar Bear! I saw plenty of Ice Bergs (and fog), but sadly, the Polar Bears were hiding! A truly spectacular wilderness that I will definitely return.

Own Boat

I bought ‘Fair Exchange’ 16 years ago. She’s old, but solid and I love her! I’ve sailed her from the top of Scotland to the West Coast of Ireland, the Spanish Rias and into the Baltic (where she was built in 1970).
She’s simple in design, easy to sail and good in a ‘blow’. We have seen a lot together and still have many more adventures still to experience.

Favourite Place to Sail

Tricky one…!

Despite the rain and the midges, the West coast of Scotland is definitely high up on my list. Endless vistas of mountains and sea lochs. So many sheltered bays, natural harbours and rivers to explore. The scenery is stunning and the wildlife breath-taking.

However,

I never tire of South Brittany. It has a micro-climate of its own. Once I’m around Pointe-de-Penmarche the sun seems to shine endlessly. There are so many beautiful islands to anchor off, golden beaches, rivers to explore and of course great French cuisine and excellent wine. The water is clear, the tides are gentle and there’s always another beautiful destination just around the corner.

A Memorable Moment at Sea

On a recent trip to Scotland, we left the Scillies and headed north for Ireland. It was a remarkable early summer, with very little wind for weeks. We sailed northwards in a zephyr of a breeze. The sea was mirror calm, no waves, no swell, It felt like the boat was on rails. We ‘ghosted’ right through the night at 3 to 4 knots. I think it was the most idyllic night sail I have ever experienced…

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