RECORD BREAKING NAVY SAILOR RETURNS TO THE DART

  • Author: Nicki Dunwell Public Rela
  • Date: Tuesday 2nd July 2019
RECORD BREAKING NAVY SAILOR RETURNS TO THE DART RECORD BREAKING NAVY SAILOR RETURNS TO THE DART RECORD BREAKING NAVY SAILOR RETURNS TO THE DART

Petty Officer Phil (PO) Slade has returned to Dartmouth after achieving his aim to sail solo to the Channel Islands in an open top dinghy, named Sixteen, measuring just four metres in length.

The 34-year-old left Britannia Royal Naval College, where he works as a seamanship instructor, on Monday 24 June, in the four-metre long dinghy, heading for Guernsey.  His intention to reach the cross the Channel and raise money through sponsorship for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines (RNRMC) charity.

He arrived 19 hours later, tired and cold but happy to have got to Guernsey.  Supporting him on route were two yachts from BRNC crewed by eight Officer Cadets on adventurous training.

PO Slade, who was born on the island, said:  “The crossing over to Guernsey was a real mixed bag. There were times when the wind was in a perfect direction and Sixteen was sitting perfectly in the water and just sailing really well. Then there was the opposite end of the scale where the wind dropped off completely just as I was crossing the traffic separation scheme which meant I had to get dragged to safety by the support yacht. At one point I was surfing waves and crash gybing in the dark which put me in real danger of capsize. It was the torrential rain though that sapped my body heat, but knowing the signs of hypothermia I was able to avoid becoming a casualty.”

On arrival in Guernsey, PO Slade had to re-think his plans for moving on to Jersey the next day.

He explained:  “Once we got into St Peter Port, we had a decision to make as there was a forecast for strong winds from Wednesday onwards which would have made continuing with the planned program dangerous. The decision was made to cancel the visit to Jersey and return to Dartmouth the same day, leaving only four hours after arriving. I am quite pleased that all of the safety planning worked out and we were able to self sustain with no input from outside authorities despite the weather not playing.”

Prior to joining the Royal Navy PO Slade was a keen sailor and his Naval career has allowed him to continue with his hobby.  In 2016 he completed his first Bosun sailing challenge; a world-record breaking non-stop trip from Plymouth to Portsmouth via the French coast.  PO Slade beat this record by sailing non-stop from Plymouth to Holyhead in 2017.

He said:  “Sailing has been a passion of mine for many years; the ability to harness the power of nature, using nothing but the wind and the tide to power your boat is something special. To be able to use this amazing sport to raise money for charity is simply an honour.

So far this challenge has raised £1,618 for the RNRMC: the principal charity of the Royal Navy, which exists to support sailors, marines and their families, for life.  Anyone wishing to show their support for PO Slade can do so online at:   uk.virginmoneygiving.com/bosunchallenge

Having joined the Royal Navy in 2003, PO Slade has served at sea on board minehunters and frigates and ashore with 30 Commando Royal Marines in Plymouth.  

All pics crown copyright, credit Craig Keating.

Return to listings