FOR most people, the howling winds 300 miles inside the Arctic Circle would be a good signal to stay indoors with a cup of tea.
But for three Royal Navy officers on HMS Dauntless, it was time to go windsurfing.
Dauntless’ Captain Richard Powell, Lieutenant Commander Matt Stratton and Midshipman Thomas Forster took to the icy waters off the coast of Northern Norway during a break from conducting cold weather trials with the navy’s new Type 45 destroyer.
Their efforts 70 miles north of Tromsø, Norway’s most northerly city, raised £10,000 for charity, £2,000 of which came from the pockets of the ship’s company.
The cash has been donated to The C Group – a charity set up in 2008 to help wounded and injured Royal Marines with their recovery and rehabilitation.
As temperatures plummeted to -15C, the officers took to the water – much to the amusement of the ship’s crew watching from the snowy upper deck.
Some offered their encouragement by carving messages of support in the snow settling on the ship’s side, including: ‘Rather you than me’.
After 15 minutes the windsurfers decided they wanted to swap their kit around, which involved getting wet.
Dauntless’ marine engineer officer, Lt Cdr Peter Lee, said: ‘None of them was quite prepared for just how cold the water was.
‘After they climbed back on to their respective boards and tried hauling up the sails it became fairly evident that the cold was starting to take its effect.’
Undeterred, the navy trio carried on for another 45 minutes before calling it a day and returning to the ship for warm showers and some hot food.
Captain Richard Powell said: ‘The C Group supports injured Royal Marines whilst they are still serving and in transition to civilian life and thereafter, so it is a very worthy cause and whilst sounding like a mad idea it was in fact great fun and provided a big morale boost for the ship’s company.’
To find out more go to thecgroup.com.
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