AN intrepid sailor is boating around the country to support a mental health charity.

Stephen Kingsbury has begun his eight-week sail around the UK which will cover more than 2,000 nautical miles.

Stephen set sail for his solo challenge from Harwich at 8am on June 2.

His quest is in support of Mid and North Essex Mind - a local mental health charity providing counselling, peer support and practical support for children and adults.

The spirited sailor is hoping to raise £800 to donate to the charity once he has completed his adventure.

Stephen said: "Thankfully, mental health is no longer the taboo subject it used to be.

"Also, despite more technology and the all-pervasive social media, modern life does seem to be more stressful for many, with many unrealistic demands and expectations being placed on people.

"It is not surprising therefore that more and more people are seeking the help of mental health charities."

Two years ago Stephen became the proud owner of a 33-foot yacht called Somersetbrook, which he is sailing for the challenge.

He said: "The pleasure I get from sailing is complex.

"It can often be cold, wet and dangerous.

"But like anything involving hardship, it’s the struggle which ultimately makes the final destination so much sweeter.

"A bonus is that you get to see wonderful things whilst at sea, not least, dolphins, endless horizons, and the exhilarating feeling of being able to travel in any direction."

Last year, Stephen was blown and rocked across the North Sea to the continent a couple of times, which only fuelled his ambition further.

He added: "The next step is a circumnavigation of the UK, something which I have done with others, never in one go but in bits and pieces over several years.”

Mid and North East Essex Mind are an independent local charity affiliated with the national charity Mind.

A Mid and North East Essex Mind spokesman said: "The demand for their services is increasing all the time and we rely on the generous donations of the local community to grow and develop our work."

To sponsor Stephen visit