Ken Fagan set off on a round-the-world voyage in 2019, one of only 200 people worldwide who begins on a similar challenge each year.

Little did he know on leaving Brighton Marina that his once-in-a-lifetime journey would be fraught with challenges as he found himself stuck halfway around the world in the middle of a global pandemic.

The Argus: Ken plotted his journey on a map in his cabinKen plotted his journey on a map in his cabin (Image: Andrew Gardner | The Argus)

Stepping aboard the Windsong feels like stepping on to any boat in Brighton Marina. From the outside, there is nothing to tell you it has been to 41 countries in the last four years.

From below the tight, wood-lined decks, a paper map annotated with a dotted route provides the first clue to the vessel’s history.

A tilting stove to deal with the waves and small bedroom proves to be the few comforts on the boat. It is only when you look at the navigation desk and souvenirs that you begin to uncover the almost baffling details of Ken’s journey.

What a journey it must have been.

The Argus: Ken's boat in JakartaKen’s boat in Jakarta (Image: Ken Fagan)

Pandemic, pirates and Colombian drug lords

Ken, 61, said: “It was an amazing experience and I met amazing people.

“It was a dream for many years for me. Once you learn to cross oceans you year to go further.

“Brighton Marina has always been my home port. Now that I’m back I’m taking a well-needed break.”

Ken’s story needs to be seen and heard to be believed.

In one conversation we turn from tracking down drug lord Pablo Escobar’s brother Roberto in Colombia, a feat which would once earn you a $10 million bounty, to seeing giant tortoises in the Galapagos Islands, all via being chased across the Pacific Ocean by an Ecuadorian fishing boat for four days.

Sharing photographs of the epic journey, he reflects on the places he visited and the people and animals he met along the way.

The Argus: Ken, right, and Roberto EscobarKen, right, and Roberto Escobar (Image: Ken Fagan)

Sea iguanas and sea lions take center stage and people and places pervade Ken’s memories of the trip. His one-word description is simply “incredible”.

One would not expect a round-the-world voyage always to be smooth sailing and, with the backdrop of the year 2020, this story is no different.


With the world shutting down in response to Covid-19, Ken found himself a long way from home – in Jakarta in Indonesia.

The Argus: Giant tortoise in the Galapagos islandsGiant tortoise in the Galapagos islands (Image: Ken Fagan)

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, he says he made the “right choice” to find shelter and wait out the global storm.

That storm, as we all experienced, turned into a 20-month pause to activities.

‘I don’t have a clue if they survived’

Describing his patient wait, Ken said: “Everything around me was closed. They weren’t nice times but for me it was the right choice.

“I could have been in a lot worse situations.”

As the world reopened and Ken went through the “very difficult” process of getting his vaccine through the British Embassy, ​​his trip resumed. With it, so did the difficulties.

Over the course of the next few months, he contended with a hip replacement in the Maldives, which set him back £15,000 after Covid saw his travel insurance cancelled, and then saving two fisherman from death.

The Argus: Ken and a Sea LionKen and a Sea Lion (Image: Ken Fagan)

After cruising through the Mozambique channel, Ken came upon struggling a vessel and two fisherman “clinging to a float”.

Ken said: “They would have been drunk. I threw them my life buoy and pulled them out of the water.

“I was telling them to keep calm. A boat was looking for them so I handed them over and they took them to shore.

“I don’t have a clue if they survived.”

Ken arrived back on British soil last week and says he now plans to take a “well-needed break” before planning his next adventure.

The Argus: Fishermen saved by KenFishermen saved by Ken (Image: Ken Fagan)

He sold his home to fund his adventures and now plans to sell the Windsong for someone else to experience his history.

He said: “I’m going to Asia next. Eventually I will get back to sailing again.”

Whatever he plans to do next, Ken, who is originally from Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire, knows he has ticked off a lifelong dream that few can ever match.