A Ruthin man is set to sail again after returning from a round the world trip aged 74

Charles Williams became one of the oldest people to circumnavigate the globe when he crossed his outbound track in 2013.

But he almost didn’t get that far, after sailing from Caernarfon in 2000 out into the path of Hurricane Alberta.

Charles, now 78, has also made over 70 parachute jumps in his time, as well as winning a bronze medal in the Pacific Games, racing as the sole member of Papua New Guinea’s cycling team in 1971.

Charles said: “My first crossing of the Atlantic from Cork to St Johns in Newfoundland was very early in the hurricane season.

“I only had a short wave radio so had to speak to other ships when I saw them for the weather forecast. When I was approaching Canada, I saw a ship and called them up, it’s all very formal, Good morning captain and what have you.

“It was a Russian ship, and the Captain had a deep, baritone voice and he shared the latest forecast with me and the first thing he said was “Hurricane Alberta”

He told me about this hurricane coming up the coast - usually they curl off and end up as gales over Europe - and gave me it’s predicted position

“We discussed it for a little while and at the end of the conversation, in this big deep voice he said: ‘I can only wish you luck, Captain’. So I plotted the hurricane’s position and my predicted position, and we were set to meet in 48 hours.

“I thought, I really don’t need this - so I altered course and sailed as far as I could in horrible conditions. The winds got up to over 70 knots but I didn’t know as my anemometer had blown off

“I was doing all the things you need to do, but there was solid green water coming over the boat, and when you hit the crest of a wave the boat would free fall into the trough of a wave, it feels like you’re dropping onto concrete, it was the worst weather I’d ever been in.”

Charles’s family were originally from Conwy, but Charles himself grew up in Liverpool. After his national service, Charles hitch-hiked with a friend across Europe, through Afghanistan and Nepal, eventually ending up in Papua New Guinea.

After three years he was eligible to race in the South Pacific Games for the island nation, coming home with a bronze medal in the Individual Pursuit.

Charles still rides regularly with Ruthin Cycling Club, and says there’s no magic recipe when it comes to staying active into your seventies.

“To me there’s no secret, I just keep doing what I’ve always done, just a bit more slowly, he said. “I’m a bit less impetuous to do things than I was, but being realistic, crossing oceans on my own, it’s not as safe as sitting on the sofa with the remote in your hands

“I left the UK when I was 23, I worked on aid projects all over for the UN in Africa. A time will come when I’m staggering round the boat with zimmer frame in a storm and might think it isn’t a good idea any more, but I’ve got no wish to change it just yet.”