About 'Sofa To Sailboat'

About 'Sofa To Sailboat'


The expedition aims to raise £100,000 in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, Mind, MS-UK and St Helena Hospice (Colchester). We have chosen our charities as each one has been there to support us, our loved ones, or our families through difficult times.

The voyage is also being used as an opportunity to promote sustainable use of our oceans via the RYA/British Marine ‘Green Blue’ programme.

Click here to find out how to support our causes.



The Boat

Poppet is an early 1970's Leisure 17. She measures just 17ft x 7ft (5.2m x 2.1m), which is smaller than typical UK builders van. The quarters are incredibly cramped, and the crew will be practically living on top of each other, nothing will be personal or private from each other for the duration of the Atlantic adventure!


Poppet has been nicknamed our 'dinghy with a lid' by our supporters and by fellow sailors that have seen her in the boatyard.

Click here to find out more about Poppet and the Leisure 17 history.


In December 2021, ‘Sofa To Sailboat’ is using Poppet, a tiny recycled and upgraded boat, to cross 3000-miles of the Atlantic Ocean from The Canary Islands to the Caribbean.

The Skipper and Firstmate make a two-person crew for the 30-40 day voyage.


The Crew

John-Kenneth (the skipper) is 37 years old and works fulltime as a marine surveyor and marine electrician in the leisure industry. He has seven years of experience acting as a consultant for ocean rowing races/expeditions. He has twelve years of sailing experience on the UK’s East Coast.

Courtney (the firstmate) works as a skills trainer. He has no prior experience of sailing but is keen to learn and develop his skills to become trained to RYA 'Day Skipper' to perform as a vital crew member and act as a competent Watchkeeper during his shifts at the helm.


The crew will manage the boat in split 'watches', each typically lasting two or three hours. Whilst one crewmember sails the boat, the other will rest before relieving them with a hot drink, smile, and a progress update. There will be some hours awake together during the day during maintenance, meal times, etc.


The skipper and Firstmate are both former ‘blue light’ emergency volunteers who retired from service due to health.


Click here to find out more about the crew.


The Voyage


We'll set off in December 2021 from The Canary Islands and we'll be aiming our compass at Antigua in the Carribean. The crossing will be during the statistically safest weather window but will still be at risk from unseasonable storms and weather.


There will be no internet, limited phone calls will be by satellite phone, we'll have email (text only) if we are fortunate. Meals will be from rehydrated ration packs; there is no refrigeration on board. There is a mechanical watermaker to turn seawater into a rationed drinking water supply, showers will be rare. The boat does not have a toilet... though it does have a luxury bucket!

Electronics and safety equipment is state of the art, equal to or exceeding requirements of more dangerous expeditions. The boat will have live satellite tracking for our families and supporters.

The Cost

The expedition and boat equipment costs have been met by the skippers’ investment, from corporate sponsors, equipment loans, and from the generosity of private supporters. Each crew member is funding their own personal and protective equipment.

To find out how to support our adventure and charities, please click here.