Rhyl’s former harbourmaster has celebrated his retirement by circumnavigating Wales.

Arthur Davies braved Storm Hector to travel 501 nautical miles along canals, navigable rivers, and around the coast in ‘The Yacht Scooby’ to raise money for the RNLI and St David’s Hospice.

Mr Davies, harbourmaster for four and a half years, set off from the town on Thursday, May 31, sailing around the Wirral and into the River Mersey.

He was joined on the 6ft 10ins-wide sailing boat by friend Anne Grace.

Mr Davies, who retired aged 65 in March, said: “I’ve been waiting to do it for a while, but it was just a question of waiting to have enough free time to tackle it.

“Not many people have done it in a sailing boat. I know of the first group of sailors from Aberaeron Sailing Club in the ‘90s, and later their harbour master, but I think we may be the first to do it by sailing around the Wirral and down the Mersey.

“We had to use such a small because the canal locks are seven-feet wide, which means we only had about an inch of clearance either side. You could just about sleep on it.”

The group – which alternated between Mrs Grace, Mr Davies’ wife, Sandra Davies, on weekends and neighbour Tony Parvin for the last leg of the journey – travelled along the Shropshire Union Canal and into the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, joining the River Severn to return to the sea at Gloucester.

Mr Davies added: “We probably could have done it in less time, but with such a small sailing boat, it’s crucial to have the wind and tide working together for you.

“We were held up for almost a week in Fishguard and another six days in Pwllheli because of Storm Hector.”

After a 26 day voyage, RNLI crew members met Mr and Mrs Davies and Mr Parvin with the inshore lifeboat at Kinmel Bay, escorting the sailors into Rhyl harbour.

Rhyl RNLI coxswain Martin Jones greeted their return.

He said: “The whole crew are very grateful to Arthur, Sandra and Tony for their intrepid adventure and to support our new lifeboat appeal.

“We have had a great relationship with Arthur in his role as Rhyl harbourmaster and hope to continue our friendship now that he has retired.”

Donations can be made to the Yacht Scooby at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sandra-davies, with all proceeds going towards a new Shannon Class lifeboat for Rhyl RNLI and St David’s Hospice.