AN ADVENTUROUS Greenock ex-pat who harboured a 50-year ambition to voyage across the Atlantic in his own boat back to his home town has realised the long-cherished dream.

Graham Hoey and three pals sailed 3,500 nautical miles from Montreal in Canada to Inverclyde in his 42ft yacht 'Freedom' and enjoyed a starlit experience of a lifetime along the way.

It was a journey ex-pat Graham, 65, feared he might never make after he was struck down with a serious medical issue in recent years.

But wonder-drug medication gave him a new lease of life and he splashed out on buying the boat around a year ago, with just one thought in his head — to take on the challenge of the Atlantic.

The Telegraph caught up with the elated trans-ocean sailor shortly after he docked at Kip Marina following his 17-day voyage.

Graham said: "I don't think it's sunk in that I've actually done it yet.

"It's kind of like, we went for a sail and ended up in Scotland!

"I had a bit of a health scare a couple of years ago so my wife, Julie, and I sold the powerboat we had, and then I got some medication which helped me a lot.

"When I got my health back a bit I said to Julie, 'What about buying a boat again?' and she suggested a sailboat, as I'd always wanted to do this.

"It's been a bucket list thing - probably ever since I left to live in Canada at 14 - to sail my own boat back, and now it's happened.

"I can't quite believe it."

Graham, a retired chartered accountant, fell in love with sailing as a child and spent a lot of his younger days on a boat in Gourock's Cardwell Bay.

He emigrated with his parents to Canada and only re-engaged with his favourite pastime at the age of 50.

The father-of-three and grandfather-of-seven described his Atlantic adventure as a 'true highlight' of his life.

Former Greenock Academy pupil Graham — who lived on South Street and also in Port Glasgow before embarking on his new life in North America — said: "My favourite part was sailing at night because you've got no light pollution and on a clear the night the stars are spectacular.

"The moon is like a searchlight.

"It really does light your path."

He and crewmates Peter Hager, who is pictured along with Graham, Nick Preissel and Rob Duckworth abandoned an initial plan to sail to Greenland and on to Scotland and went south towards the Azores to avoid storms.

Graham said: "We actually did close to 3,500 nautical miles, whereas if we'd gone in a straight line it probably would have been a thousand miles less.

"We avoided any really bad weather.

"There were some quite bad storms that were coming up and we stayed beneath them.

"We had a relatively uneventful voyage, I would say that the biggest waves we probably experienced were 20ft and the strongest winds were probably about 35 knots."

Graham added: "The first thing we did was we went past the Kip Marina and went all the way to Coronation Park in Port Glasgow because I wanted to get some pictures from the water.

"Some of my cousins were in Coronation Park so we could wave to them.

"I've had this dream for the last 50 years probably.

"I came back on the Queen Mary a few years ago from New York to Southampton, but it's not the same.

"I mean, to do it in your own boat is just the best."

Graham plans to leave Freedom at Kip over the winter and fly back to Canada after a fortnight's holiday with family here.

He is set to return next spring and sail the Western Isles before venturing to the Canary Islands in the summer and then on to the Caribbean.

Graham said: "I'll be crossing the Atlantic again, but a lot further south than this time."