Plane, boat, car and train come to mind when you think of travelling from the Isle of Man to Monaco, but if your name is Chris Allix, then you have other ideas. The 58-year-old company director is going by kayak!
Even his nearest and dearest doubted his sanity when he first told them of his plan to paddle the estimated 2,000 miles by way of sea, rivers and canals in aid of five children's charities, but they all agreed, he says, that he was mad enough to succeed.
Chris, director of the Douglas-based ICM Group, has a close relationship with the sea and Monaco through his pioneering company Dominion Marine Corporate Services - he is the founding director - which has been at the forefront of developing the Manx yacht registration business, a role in which he has acted as an 'ambassador' for the island. But this is his personal challenge of a lifetime and he has spent the last nine months preparing for the enormous task ahead by training in Manx coastal waters and in arduous conditions in the Lake District. He has lost three stone in weight and learned the hard way how to refine his kayaking skills in some of the toughest white water conditions imaginable.
"My planned route, starting in the summer, will take me across the Irish Sea to England and down through the canal network to Dover and the English Channel where I will, hopefully, cross to France," said Chris, who now weighs in at a mere 16 stone. "As if that wasn't enough, I'll then take on the French canals and rivers making my way south to arrive in The Principality in time for the first day of the Monaco International Yacht Show on September 21.
"It will be a long and incredibly difficult task but although this will be my challenge of a lifetime, it's really all about raising money for the children's charities - so I need a lot of help and support from sponsors."
To help achieve his objective, Chris has set up his own special website under the banner 'Man to Monaco'. Apart from providing route details, regular information and updates, it also appeals for corporate and individual sponsors.
Now, the next major training test is imminent. At Easter, Chris will take part in the gruelling 125 mile Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Marathon reckoned to push competitors to their physical and mental limits as they paddle their way along the River Thames and the Kennett and Avon canal. It is described as the UK's toughest endurance test.
The route should be familiar to Chris in every sense, because he competed in the race twice in the 1970s, on one occasion receiving an award for fortitude having completed the course with 10 stitches in his knee.
Hoping history will not repeat itself, Chris said: "This is a really tough event which nobody enters without very careful thought and preparation. I have to average around 30 miles a day negotiating everything the waters and the weather might throw at me. "But I reckon that it is the ideal race to tee me up for the big challenge in the summer. I know I have to do well at Easter if I am to get all the way to Monaco. I have every intention of succeeding on both counts."
For his adventure, Chris will have a sea kayak built by Nigel Denis in Wales and a K1 flat water type from Marsport in Reading. He expects to take delivery of the K1 in the week before the Devizes to Westminster race.
The charities he has designated are: Sailing for the Disabled (Isle of Man), Namaste Childrens Home (Nepal), Outward Bound Trust (Monaco), Encompass Trust (UK) and the ICM Charitable Trust (Isle of Man).
Man to Monarco
SuperYacht Times - The State of Yachting 2020
Being the intelligence partner for the top shipyards and yacht brokers in the world, we have learned to analyse and track the market in great detail. Each year our leading market report is used by investors, CEOs, owners and other key decision makers to inform themselves on the state of the market and future developments. Find all the information you need on the market, fleet, construction book, ownership nationalities and much more in our report.
#weknow - do you want to know? Buy the report now for only €299!