A Warwickshire vet with strong links to Leamington has waved goodbye to his practice to focus on an ambitious new horizon – to sail 29,500 miles across the world.
What’s more, 47-year-old Russell Hall, a clinical director at Avonvale Veterinary Centres, is taking wife Kate and two young sons Hugo, seven, and Felix, five, with him on the exciting two-year expedition.
‘Captain’ Hall, a former chairman of Leamington Round Table and founder of The Regency 10k Run, and his family crew are set to cast off from Hampshire in May on board their 48-foot yacht, the Kathryn del Fuego, and hope to drop anchor for the last time in Thailand in 2021.
Russell explained: “We’ll be setting off from Lymington in Hampshire and heading for the Canary Islands but we’ll be stopping off frequently along the way - in France, Spain, Portugal and Madeira - so that leg will take us about five months.
“From there, we’re going to take part in the ARC, a 2,800-mile race across the Atlantic from the Canaries to the Caribbean, which will take us between 18 and 21 days.
“The aim then is to have a couple of weeks’ rest in St Lucia before setting off again on the final stage of the journey.
“We’ll be setting sail to Columbia, through the Panama Canal and onto the Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Indonesia and finally Thailand.”
Russell revealed the epic voyage was sparked by a casual chat around the fire at Christmas but quickly became a reality as he opted to take a two-year sabbatical to fulfil a burning ambition.
He said: “We were sitting in the living room; the open fire was going strong and I sat there thinking things over.
“I said to Kate ‘We’ve been in this house eight years now and we haven’t done anything adventurous, so let’s do something exciting together, let’s sail around the world.’
“She smiled and just said ‘Let me finish my Masters first, then we can do it.’
“Well, she graduates from Cambridge University in May and three days later we’ll be on our way.”
Education will remain top of the agenda for the pioneering parents who intend to ‘home school’ Hugo and Felix throughout the trip.
They firmly believe their children will also benefit from the incredible experience of visiting so many different countries and meeting people of all creeds, cultures and colours along the way.
Russell explained: “One of the reasons we are embarking on this trip right now is because Hugo and Felix are so young and can benefit so much from the experience.
“Yes, there’s a lot of sailing - but three-quarters of the time we will be moored up and anchored, enjoying moments like a barbeque on the beach, exploring, swimming, snorkelling, mending and tending to the boat.
“Because of their ages, they’re not going to miss that much from being away from school, especially as we will be teaching them ourselves throughout the voyage.
Avonvale has seven sites across Warwickshire.