Sea Witch races Suhaili - 50 years later

In 1968 9 men raced in a first solo, nonstop circumnavigation. Just one finished. After 50 years I want to race him in a sister boat I own.

Unfortunately, this project was not successful

Sea Witch races Suhaili

50 years later

In 1968 9 men raced in a first solo, nonstop circumnavigation. Just one finished. After 50 years I want to race him in a sister boat I own.

I'll start from Falmouth in the UK, exactly 50 years after Suhaili - on the 14th of June 2018, sailing solo nonstop around Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leuween and Cape Horn back to Falmouth and trying to make it in less 313 days - which is the time Suhaili sailed this distance.

Suhaili sailed 30123 miles, reaching 4.02 kn (knot - nautical mile per hour) average speed on the whole journey. I would like to know, if with the identical boat but with help of modern technologies - mainly sat phone, which would allow me to get precise (to the point) weather information - I'm able to make it faster.

I always wanted to sail this route, but since I found my current boat I knew what I have to do - I don't really believe in destiny, but it seemed an unusual coincidence when I realised, that a boat I bought is identical to the Suhaili

I hope I shall find a company willing to make some charitable contribution if I manage to make it faster, but I plan on raising money on justgiving anyway. I would like to ask everyone who wants to support this project to send me their ideas for whom we should raise money - my personal favourite is establishing a charity helping families of those fallen while realising their dreams. They put everything they had into their dream and when it failed - their families often were left with nothing and no one to support them.

Everyone interested in this project will be able to follow my progress on the project website thanks to tracking from Yellow Brick. I also plan to use Iridium to post short (costs!) notes there.

about the boat

"Sea Witch" a boat built on the same lines like "Suhaili" - on which sir Robin Knox-Johnston as a first person ever sailed around the world solo, nonstop. They both differ in their rig (Suhaili being a ketch, while Sea Witch is a cutter) but their hulls are identical, both built on the same lines of "Eric" designed by William Atkin in 1920s.

She is currently resting in a shadow of Gibraltar Rock, waiting to be taken back to Wales.

about me

I'm 41 now, I have sailed since I was 15. I used to sail on my friends' boats, when they needed someone "in the know" to get a boat somewhere far. I skippered yachts in the Baltic, North Sea, Mediterranean and Atlantic, from Africa to the high Arctic. I also sailed solo or in a very small crew.

 in the Arctic - 79 degrees north

Since I bought my current boat, "Sea Witch" - I sailed on her in Mediterranean with just one person as a crew. I plan to sail her alone early next year back to Wales, where she will be fitted for this great journey.

At the moment I'm working hard to get this project going, with all my savings (and not only) going into the re-fitting the boat, and I also translate a book on storm sailing techniques in my spare time (of which my work does not leave a lot). It is due to be published in early next year which should help a bit with all the work needed on the boat.


Few years ago I was all ready to build my own boat - I was living on a boat I was "babysitting" for my friend, in a very cosy boatyard on Canvey Island in Thames Estuary, where I had also nice, covered space for my boatbuilding, when my friend rang me saying - "I found a boat for you!". He used to do so every few months but he also knew what kind of boats were interesting to me and, crucially, he knew roughly what I could afford.

Two months later I was busy surveying my new boat on Mallorca. It took me another two years, due to changes at work (less time available) to finally get her sailing. In April/May I sailed on her to Gibraltar, were she waits for me to do some more work on her and sail her back to Wales next year.

When I bought her I knew I have plenty of big and small jobs to do on her and expected to spend around twice the amount I bought her for to bring her up to her former glory.

Unfortunately, after re-checking her before such a big project, some HUGE (and hugely important!) points were added to "TO DO" list.

so, what your support is needed for?

First, essential for the project and very costly item on the list is a mast. Original one started to develop some cracks along, nothing too serious when you potter around from place to place on holiday, but very worrying if you plan on spending half a year in (possibly) the worst weather on this planet (which Roaring Forties are fully capable to provide) weeks away from any rescue services. The new mast for Sea Witch, according to the quote provided to me by Collars, will cost almost £5000.

Second thing which I expected to replace slowly and which, due to preparations for that project will need much more attention is my set of sails. Current sails of Sea Witch are still in pretty good condition, but years of use meant that they are well out of their original shape, which is visible mostly on the main. Its shape means that the Witch loses quite a bit of speed she is capable of - and with 30000 miles to go and race (against an IDENTICAL boat!) ahead of her that means that the whole set must be replaced. Different quotes average around £4000 for a basic set of new sails for her (using her old sails as an emergency backup).

Third thing which may, unexpectedly, require attention, is my self-steering gear, which malfunctioned during the last cruise and will need sorting out before such a long journey. Hopefully just servicing an old Aries hung on the stern of Sea Witch would suffice, but if not the new gear will be needed - and here goes another £1000-£1500.

All together around £10000 of unexpected bills to pay before I can cast off her lines and sail around... and so there is a reason for this campaign.

I believe you will help this project.

Thank you for your support. 

And please share news about it on your Facebook timelines, on your Twitter feeds, on your websites or your blogs. Share it wherever you can - it helps to reach the goal.


..and if you wonder, what my friends have to say about this project:

"Crazy lady, crazy boat, crazy route. I support it!(It means - I'm crazy too. ;-:Monika - I believe in your success keeping my fingers crossed."Janusz Zbierajewski (who was already a sailing pro when those 9 men were racing 50 years ago...)

"Let this brave Girl sail and let every mile bring her to success. Let this Lady cut some bigheads down to size."

Maciej Adamczak (delivery skipper, another sailing pro)


Polish version



Wiedźma ściga się z Suhaili

Witajcie, byłoby wspaniale, gdybyście podzielili się informacją o tym projekcie na swojej stronie FB, Twitterze i stronie WWW. W razie potrzeby mogę dodać kod do widgetu ;)

(ps. Polska wersja nie jest tłumaczeniem)

Pozdrawiam, Monika Matis

50 lat później

W 1968 roku 9 osób wystartowało do nieformalnych regat. Tylko jeden wrócił. Po 313 dniach sir Robin Knox-Johnston został pierwszym, który opłynął świat dookoła samotnie i nonstop.

14 czerwca 2018 wypłynę na Wiedźmie ścigać się z Suhaili sprzed 50 lat, samotnie i nonstop. Obie jednostki są praktycznie identyczne, dzielące te same linie kadłuba (oczywistą różnicą jest ich takielunek).

Chcę nie tylko uczcić te 50 lat (ile się pozmieniało!), ale sprawdzić, czy potrafię na takiej samej jednostce pożeglować teraz szybciej, z pomocą nowoczesnej technologii (głównie Iridium, dające mi dostęp do aktualnych informacji pogodowych na całej trasie).

Takie wyzwanie oznacza jednak nie tylko gigantyczny wysiłek fizyczny, psychiczny i organizacyjny, ale także kosztowne przygotowania, daleko poza ten normalny remont do spokojnego żeglowania jaki przewidywałam. Dla pokrycia tych ekstra kosztów zdecydowałam się zebrać pieniądze przez

Cała kampania (jak na Wiedźmy przystało) rusza w Halloween 2015 roku i potrwa 28 dni. Odwiedzajcie stronę:

(proszę, udostępniajcie ten link znajomym, znajomym znajomych itd., wysyłąjcie go na Twitterze, piszcie o nim na stronach, dzielcie się nim. To pomaga!)

Link do strony na FB

A tak zrobili to inni :)