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Royal Navy sailing world record presentation

11 October 2016
Two dinghy sailors who sailed a Royal Navy boat from Plymouth to Portsmouth this summer have been confirmed as record holders.

Petty Officer Phil Slade and Mark Belamarich, who both work for the Royal Marines in Plymouth, set a world record for the distance sailed by a two-man dinghy – a standard 14-foot long Bosun class.

The friend were presented with a Guiness World Records certificate each to mark the achievement at a ceremony today (Friday) and are already planning their next, as yet specified, record-breaking adventure. The certificates were presented at the Camber by Major Steve O’Sullivan, Royal Marines.

Phil and Mark (who was taught sailing by Phil only three months before the ‘Bosun Challenge’), staged the gruelling three-night voyage to raise money for and awareness of the Royal Navy/Royal Marines Charity.

They thanked all those who helped raise £2,922.

Finally getting the confirmation of the record is the pinnacle of this whole challenge.

Petty Officer Phil Slade

Petty Officer Phil Slade, who is the second in command of the Royal Navy Sailing Centre on the Camber at Royal Marines Stonehouse, in Plymouth, said: “We are both relieved that the record was finally confirmed after a three-month wait for the evidence to be reviewed.

“This is such an achievement for us, especially after such a difficult challenge. We worked so hard training and fundraising, then the challenge itself which included a double Channel crossing, to have the reward and recognition of a world record is nothing short of amazing.”

The voyage ran the gauntlet of the weather (both too much and not enough wind) and dangers of navigating a small (14-foot) boat at night across the busiest sea lanes in the world - all without sleep and in cramped conditions. 

The route crossed the English Channel twice, from Plymouth to France and return, then eastwards along the South Coast.

Mark, an ex-serviceman who teaches sea survival for 1 Assault Group Royal Marines in Devonport Navy Base said: “Finally getting the confirmation of the record is the pinnacle of this whole challenge.

"It was hard-earned. We had to cope with force 5 to 6 winds on the crossing both ways and that was hard physically.

“Sailing in a small boat across the busy shipping lanes at night is something we were planning for.

"But nothing prepares you for the prolonged intense physical activity needed and being awake for many hours with only fifteen minute catnaps rest in a cramped ever rocking boat.’’

Guiness World Records have verified the details officially with the the following wording: “The world record for the longest distance sailed in a double handed dinghy is 572.73 km (355.88 mi; 309.25 nautical miles) which was achieved by Phil Slade and Mark Belamarich (both UK) who sailed from Plymouth to Portsmouth via France, between 14-17th June 2016.’’ 

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