Born in Glasgow in 1961, his sense of adventure led him into the Royal Navy where he saw active service in the Falklands War. Family life intervened until in 2008 when, in his 23ft Virgo Voyager, he took part in the Jester Azores Challenge. In his next boat, a 27ft Albin Vega, he completed the 2010 Jester Transatlantic. He is planning to sail to the Caribbean next winter. an anxious voice called out,
‘ Lizzie G, Lizzie G, are you there?’ Then again, ‘This is Sea-land Racer calling Lizzie G. Are you there?’
I clambered below, took a moment to wipe the disbelief from my face and then picked up the mike.
‘ Sea-land Racer, this is Lizzie G. Thank you for your avoiding action. We have successfully passed your port side. It was close but we are fine. No damage. Over.’
There were two or more people on the bridge and a fair amount of alarm and consternation at our near collision. I had been right. It was the other vessel that showed up on their radar screen, not me. From their bridge, with their great length and high bow, they had failed to see my tiny sailing vessel. Someone’s prompt action upon hearing my request for them to turn ‘hard to starboard’ had undoubtedly saved my life, and themselves a lot of trouble.
On that night, I came as close as I ever did to losing everything.
Now firmly in the grip of the singlehanded sailing bug, Denis signed up for his second Jester Azores Challenge in 2012 Denis wrote a book on how the sea and sailing transformed him from a troubled child of the Glasgow tenements into a solo...