VOYAGER, Thom D’Arcy, has completed an epic 30,000-mile circumnavigation of the world, and returned to Yarmouth ­— the starting point of his journey ­— at the weekend.

Thom, 37, left the Island on May 9, 2016 ­— and more than four years later he’s now returned with tales of his time at sea.

“It’s all a bit surreal being back to be honest,” said Thom, who left his job as a ship-broker in London to embark on his adventure.

“I never really planned to sail around the world, I thought maybe an Atlantic circuit would be the maximum I could do, but I just kept going, and it got to the point where it was easier to continue.

“I’ve sailed since I was eight years old, and my return to Yarmouth was so special because that’s where I learnt to sail in a boat my mother built.

“She went on a boat building course at the Isle of Wight College and built me a little optimist dinghy.

“It all started in Yarmouth, so coming back and seeing her and all my friends was really special.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Thom D'Arcy heading toward the Needles.

“Working in London, it was really about the rat race ­— getting stuck, time going quickly ­— and I decided I wanted to have an adventure.”

Tom departed from Yarmouth in his Vancouver 28 and travelled to Plymouth, where he took part in a single handed sailing race ­before leaving the UK.

Heading to the Azores, Thom hit adverse weather in the Bay of Biscay and retired to Spain where he celebrated his birthday.

“It was pouring with rain, I’d just been in this storm, and I thought ‘what am I doing?’.

“I felt really despondent at that moment, but I pulled myself together and carried on.

“A year later, I was in the Caribbean, and I had the option of sailing slowly north back to the UK, but I decided ­— and I still don’t know quite why ­— to sail west, and arrived in Columbia ten days later.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Land ahoy after 38 days at sea.

“I wasn’t scared of getting lost but there were lots of unknowns along the way, and moments where I was thinking ‘what on earth am I doing?’

“The worst one was a storm off the coast of Australia I got caught in.

“The border force thought I was a drug smuggler, wondering what I was doing going around in circles for three days waiting for it to pass.

“I had some ripped sails and some broken ribbing along the way, too, and I nearly sank in the South Atlantic.

“The engine exhaust hose sheered off the fitting that goes through the hull, and the alarm that’s supposed to warn me if there’s water in the boat didn’t go off.

“When I woke up, I looked down and the water was at the floor level and lapping at the bottom of the engine.

“I had to climb into the cockpit locker in waist-deep water and plug the hole.

“Self-sufficiency was a real challenge, mentally.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Fishing off the coast of Australia.

“Realising, on the ocean passages, I’m just a tiny little dot and there’s no one to rescue me if anything goes wrong.

“I also realised how big of an issue ocean plastic pollution is.

“There a place called Cocos Keeling, which is a little coral atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and the plastic was five-six feet high on the windward beaches, all stacked up.

“The best parts were the shared adventures, the social side. I did the sailing on my own, but the rest of the time I was with other boats.

“I’ve got friends all over the place now.

“I swam with humpback whales in Tonga, whale sharks in St. Helena, huge manta rays in Fiji ­— incredible experiences.

“Madagascar was mind blowing ­— pristine, no pollution, not too many tourists.

“I was anchoring off with friends and trading old t-shirts and fishing hooks for lobster and crabs ­— it was like harking back 100 years.

“French Polynesia, Tonga and Madagascar would be my top three I think.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Sailing near Madagascar.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Arriving at Sydney Harbour.

“There was also a small island called Palmerston Island, which only has a population of around 50 people, and they all descend from one salty sea captain.

“It’s a really incredible place to go. The island is kind of split into three, which corresponds to each of the three wives, and the groups don’t often get along very well.”

Speaking of the emotions coming to the fore upon the conclusion of his journey, Thom said he felt a real mixture ­— excitement to see everyone, but also a feeling of apprehension nagging away about where to live and where to work.

“Cutting the land ties when you go on a big trip is probably the hardest part,” said Thom.

“I was so excited to be back in home waters and see everyone.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Thom and his vessel being escorted into Yarmouth.

“I saw family along the way ­— they flew out to see me ­— but there were so many familiar faces I hadn’t seen for so long.

“And when you see the Needles come over the horizon, approaching the western Solent, and all these boats coming out to welcome me in ­— it was unbelievable.”

It was a poetic conclusion to Thom’s journey ­— returning to the place where it had all started, and where he had learnt to sail all those years ago.

“I wouldn’t do it again on my own, but I don’t think you ever lose the adventurous urge in you,” said Thom.

“Now that I’ve done this, I’m not going to play scrabble every Saturday night.

“I will plan something in the future.”

Isle of Wight County Press:

Thom's friends and family welcoming him home.

Isle of Wight County Press:

A dolphin Thom spotted in the Pacific Ocean.

You can view more pictures of Thom’s voyage at @thomdarcy Instagram page or