Two sailors have taken the bus in their bid to break their own dinghy long-distance world record by sailing from Plymouth to Scotland.
Acting Petty Officer Phil Slade (Royal Navy) and MOD civilian Mark Belamarich have the backing of Plymouth CityBus Company in the pair’s bid to sail about 500 nautical miles in a Royal Navy sail training dinghy – about 200 more than their record set last year sailing from Plymouth to Portsmouth via France.
In comparison with a 40-foot double decker bus, the 14-ft standard Bosun dinghy looks tiny – it is certainly cramped and uncomfortable for two men to spend several days together in sometimes stormy conditions.
Phil said: “We are delighted to have the support of Plymouth City Bus Company, they are a local company and have the interests of the city at heart. In the same way, the Royal Navy is also a significant part of the community.
“The managing director is also a keen sailor and he is taking a keen interest in our voyage and providing us with some key kit.’’
The company have funded two life-saving personal locator beacons and an essential magnetic compass for the dinghy crew.
Plymouth CityBus Managing Director Richard Stevens said: “We are delighted to be able to support Phil and Marks’ bid. A lot of our 550 team based at Milehouse are either ex-service personnel or have links with the services. One of our key values is community, so helping such a worthy cause and being able to give the project boost is really important to us. We have donated £1,000 alongside providing the pair with essential equipment to make the voyage safer. We would like to wish them both the very best of luck!”.
The ambitious voyage, from Plymouth to Scotland, will not only raise awareness of dinghy sailing as a sport, especially within the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, but also raise awareness and funds for the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity and Bowel Cancer UK.
Their voyage of 309.25 nautical miles was recognised by Guinness World Records as the longest distance ever sailed in a double-handed dinghy.
Over the first three weeks in May this year Mark (a sea survival instructor with 1 Assault Squadron Royal Marines), and Phil (from the RN/RM Sail Training Centre at Royal Marines Stonehouse) will try to break their own record sailing to Faslane, the site of a Royal Navy base.
Mark supports Bowel Cancer UK because he survived the disease and his family is living with the consequences.
Support Phil and Mark’s 2017 record breaking attempt, ‘Bosun 500 Challenge’ at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=bosunchallenge500&pageUrl=5