Solo sailor Olly’s voyage of discovery

Olly Rofix in his boat 'Jolly Olly' at Amble Marina.
Olly Rofix in his boat 'Jolly Olly' at Amble Marina.

A CANCER survivor raising awareness and funds for a leukaemia charity by sailing single-handed around Britain stopped off in Amble on his way up the east coast.

Olly Rofix, from Suffolk, set off in his Valiant 18 yacht Jolly Olly from Ipswich at the start of April and spent a night in Amble Marina after sailing up from Hartlepool during the day.

The 26-year-old’s main aim during the trip is to recruit donors for a bone marrow register, particularly men between the age of 18 and 25, as well as raising awareness and money for the Anthony Nolan Trust. So far, he has recruited seven donors.

Olly said that the trip up to Amble had been quite tough as the wind had been strong.

“It was hard work for the little boat,” he added.

But the first couple of months of his trip have gone well and he is looking forward to heading up round Scotland.

“It’s going really well. I had one or two little setbacks but now that’s been sorted out, touch wood, so I’m ready to crack on.

“I want to get up to Inverness by the end of May but I don’t know if that will happen.”

Olly sailed up from Hartlepool accompanied by another boat and he said that it is more enjoyable sailing with someone else.

“It makes it easier for me because I don’t have a life raft so on my own I wear a drysuit,” he said. “And it’s just nice to see another boat.”

However Olly is quite prepared to make it round Britain with or without accompaniment.

He was diagnosed with leukaemia in September 2005 aged just 20. The following year he underwent a bone marrow transplant after a donor had been found followed by eight weeks of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

It was before his transplant that he realised the need for donors with 16,000 people worldwide currently in need of a bone marrow transplant and also when he bought Jolly Olly as a project for him during his recovery.

During the trip, Olly needs sponsorship to pay for his food, fuel and berth alongside donations for the charity, although fortunately Amble Marina offered him a free berth for the night.

Manager Linda Sweeney said: “We are delighted to help Olly on his way round Britain.”

All the information about Olly and his trip, and details on how to sponsor him, donate money or become a donor are on his website at