From Brighton Marina to Cape Horn and back again – a journey that has taken almost a quarter of a century has come full circle.

Round the world sailor Bob Burns, 71, has returned to Sussex shores for the first time in 24 years.

But he has no plans to become a landlubber and, despite a triple heart bypass and a serious injury to his leg, he is now setting sail once more and heading across the Atlantic singlehandedly.

Cap’n Bob, as he likes to be called, spent a weekend in Sussex after dropping anchor in Shoreham harbour to spend some time with his family.


The former Whitehawk resident has never met some of his younger relatives, having been on the seas since 1985.

It was in that year the former oil industry executive spent £100,000 on his custombuilt boat, Roamer, and set off on a journey that took in Cape Town, Tasmania and South America, including the infamous Cape Horn.

After a brief return to Brighton in 1987, Mr Burns has been at sea ever since, earning a living as a sailing instructor and marine manager.

He said: “I just can’t sit still. A lot of people must think I’m mad with a dodgy ticker and even dodgier leg setting off again but I need to keep moving.

“I am quite happy to finish my days off on Roamer and simply float out to sea. It sounds much less depressing to me than ending up in a nursing home.”

During his time on the high seas he has narrowly avoided death a number of times, including waking up in the middle of a fierce storm off the remote South Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha.

He said: “When I looked out all I could see was a huge black cliff face that seemed to be hurtling towards me.

“Then it seemed to get further away and I realised the waves were so strong they were smashing against the cliffs and pushing me back out to sea. They were the only thing that saved me.”

Mr Burns’ adventures, which were chronicled in The Argus in the 1980s, have been collected into a book.

Roamer Round the World is available by calling Roamer Books on 01273 884394.

Meanwhile the next stage of his nautical adventures, which will see him sail to The Azores in the middle of the North Atlantic, is beginning this week as he says goodbye to Sussex once again.