AN ISLE of Wight sailor has become the first person to single-handedly sail a beach catamaran around Britain.

Liam Thom, 48, notched up an impressive 2,587 miles on his Dart 15 catamaran, Biscuit, after setting off on June 17 and arriving back on the Island on August 13.

He started at Shanklin Sailing Club and sailed to the very northern edge of Scotland and back again, stopping only to sleep beside his boat or occasionally stay with people he met on his travels.

Liam said: "I'd done some cruising before, but I had always wanted to round Britain at some point — so I guess the seed was sown long ago.

"The Dart 15 catamaran is my boat, so it was the boat I wanted to do this in. "It wasn't too unpleasant on the water — although it did get rather cold and, at one point, I had up to nine layers on. My fingers were suffering a little towards the end."

Liam, from St Helens, was elated when he finally made the half-way point and was able to cross the northern most part of Scotland.

He said: "The real highlight was going over the top of Scotland. It's quite renowned as being a really dangerous stretch of water, so I had to stay focussed the whole time.

"When I managed to get through, I was one very happy sailor. That was my Everest.

"At one place, a local invited me to stay at his house for a night and he fed me steak and let me have a bath. I met so many strangers who were so generous."

When Liam returned to the Island, arriving at the same sailing club he left from, his girlfriend, Yvonne, and family were waiting for him as he crossed the finish line.

Liam said: "I was absolutely over the moon. I really was so happy to have completed something that took two months to do.

"It was a pretty special moment. It takes a while to realise the enormity of what you have just done, of the achievement you've made."