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Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club's Round the Island Race will feature Ashford sailor Albert Walton in a kayak with a sail on the back

By Emma Grove

An intrepid sailor is preparing to take part in a popular Island sporting event – but his vessel won’t be something seen in local waters before.

Albert Walton has decided to join in with the Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club’s Round the Island Race next month in a kayak canoe.

He’s not new to sailing or even canoeing, having invested in a double one a couple of years ago to paddle up and down the Medway.

Albert Walton is taking part in this year's Round the Island Race in a kayak with a sail on the back
Albert Walton is taking part in this year's Round the Island Race in a kayak with a sail on the back

But the new idea came when a relative visiting him from Australia spotted his boat and said that back home and in New Zealand it was not uncommon for people to attach sails to kayaks.

The 66-year-old, who used to live in Plough Road, Minster, liked the sound of the challenge so did some research and then purchased a kayak and a sail online from America.

He gave it a try and found you can indeed sail a kayak but he admits it’s a lot trickier than other types of transport.

Although he’s never taken part in this race before, he thought it would be a good idea to have safety in numbers as he expects it to be quite difficult in places.

Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club logo
Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club logo

He’s done quite a bit of practice and at the weekend spent some time doing part of the Sheppey route, which has led him to estimate that on the day the full race will take him about six hours to complete with reasonable weather.

“There are a few people in the UK that do it but no one in Kent that I know of,” he said.

“It is a bit bonkers.”

The father-of-one, who lives in Burton Road, in Kennington near Ashford, hopes to raise £2,000 for the Kent Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre in Canterbury.

His cousin, who was also from Minster, received treatment for the condition at the centre before his death

The 40-mile race takes place on Saturday, August 30, and dozens of boats are expected to take part.

  • To sponsor Mr Walton, visit www.justgiving.com/A-E-G-Walton
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