A solo sailor battling a rare nerve illness recently won a race against time as he sailed 100 miles to Limehouse.

Essex man Dave Selby, who suffers from a nerve disease called Guillain-Barré Syndrome, is sailing his 18ft boat Marlin more than 300 miles to put it on display at The Southampton Boat Show and raise money for the Guillain-Barré charity Gain.

He completed the first 100-mile leg between Maldon, Essex and Limehouse Basin Marina on Tuesday, July 19 but he was, at one point, unsure he was going to make it.

Dave suffers from a rare form of the syndrome, CIDP, meaning his legs stop working properly every four and a half weeks until he gets treatment in hospital.

Dave with his dog Bart

The 57-year-old said: “I’ve got a wall-planner that says `legs, no legs’ and poor winds meant time was getting tight. I just got to London in the nick of time.”

“It’s an illness that affects the peripheral nervous system, and I’ve got an even rarer variant called CIDP, which means the messages stop getting through to my legs about every four and a half weeks.

“Then I go into hospital for three days and antibodies from the blood of 800 donors literally give me legs for another month. Humbling.”

Explaining his journey, which he has named Marlin’s Mission, Dave said he wanted to share everything that sailing has given him and encourage more people to take up the hobby.

Dave in action

He said: “There’s a myth that sailing is expensive. I bought my small boat for £2000 in 2004 and it’s given me holidays of a life-time and opened up a world of adventure.

“In fact, in the current market you can get afloat for a lot less. There’s an ever-growing fleet of great, small, second-hand fibre-glass boats and they’re getting cheaper all the time.

“Sailing has never been more accessible.”

After his three days in hospital and a week to recuperate, Dave is sailing on to Southampton in small stints to arrive at The Southampton Boat Show on Thursday, September 16.

He will be hosting a series of talks to demonstrate how to buy a boat and get sailing on a modest budget.

Dave’s progress can be followed on his blog.

To donate to his charitable cause, go to his Just Giving site.

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