A Maltese living in Australia and his friend have completed a 21,000-mile journey in a small yacht from Sydney to Falmouth in England.

But for Alex Whitworth and Peter Crozier there are more winds and waves to face.

They entered Falmouth on June 2 in their 33-foot yacht and are now planning to take part in Fastnet, a 608-mile race from England to Fastnet, on the south west coast of Ireland, and back. The 608-mile race, considered one of the world's classics, is scheduled to take place on August 7.

After that they will set sail for Sydney, their home, where they hope to be back in time to again compete in next year's Sydney-Hobart race.

The two men, who both "live for the sea", had left Hobart in Tasmania after taking part in the Sydney-Hobart race last December.

From Hobart they crossed to New Zealand, into the Pacific Ocean, and headed south towards the Horn. They then crossed over to the Falkland Islands, up into the Atlantic Ocean, past Brazil, across the equator, passed by the Azores off Portugal and finally to Falmouth.

They have now moved to Cornwall. "Its a great place. It will be hard to leave!" they said jokingly.

The two have been slowly reading all the catch-up via e-mails and Gust book entries.

Thanks to a website www.berrimilla.com, friends and others who read about their trip in the press have been able to follow their movements across the many miles of ocean.

"We feel as if all of you are writing about someone else. It hardly seems real but thanks in spades - it's been a humbling experience and hard to describe how I feel at the moment, but there's still a deal of the driven soul around here sweating out the details of the next few weeks to make sure the next two stages work as well as the last ones. But it's been an amazing ride and I'm glad you all got a kick out of it too," Mr Whitworth said.

On the way back to Sydney they will call at Gibraltar, Cape Town and Melbourne.

Mr Whitworth's mother Ethel, who lives in Birguma, can't wait to see her son, who promised to hop on a plane and visit her.

The two seamen humbly attributed their success to the many who helped them along the way.

They thanked those who helped materially with engine parts and making their sails, which are all over 10 years old and have survived eight Sydney-Hobart races and sailing half way round the world through a couple of 80-knot winds.

They also expressed thanks to those who followed them via the internet.

"Thanks to all of you for sticking up with us, for your support and humour in times of joy and adversity and for giving us something to wrap this venture around and inject some purpose it may not have had without you. We love you all...," the two said.

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