A COUPLE have returned from the trip of a lifetime after spending three years sailing around the world.

Kevin Hutchings and his partner Philippa Bull stepped back on to the pontoons of Brighton Marina on Thursday for the first time since they set sail on a boat called Wanda back in 2011.

The pair, both teachers, had taught in the area’s schools for the past 30 years but decided it was time to resign and cast off to fulfil their dream of sailing around the globe.

They made it to 20 different countries and braved five ocean crossings during the past three years on the 11m steel sailing sloop.

Places they visited included Spain, Tonga, the Canary Islands, Cape Verdes, Barbados, the Galapagos Islands, St Helena and South Africa.

Mr Hutchings, 54, said: “It was the adventure of a lifetime. It was something we have dreamt of since one day 15 years ago – when we got together as a couple and were driving along together above the marina we decided we should do it. Neither of us had ever sailed a boat before and we said ‘one day we will sail round the world’.

“It takes the initial step to do what we did and that is to both jack in our jobs and professional lives and take the opportunity.”

Ms Bull, 55, said: “I missed my children from time to time but it was great. My mother, who is 80 years old, learnt to use a computer so she could talk to us on Skype.

“We have no regrets but it absolutely and utterly makes you appreciate your home. When we made landfall in Falmouth we saw how this country is as beautiful and amazing as anywhere we have been.”

Mr Hutchings added “After three years away, Wanda’s sailing kitty is getting rather low and we need to find work to earn some money – then who knows?

“We are looking forward to exploring more of our own coastline, maybe we will sail round Britain next time.”