Free lift and scrub from BAE keeps Portsmouth charity boat in tip-top condition

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THEY’RE used to working on the Royal Navy’s fast sea boats and other small vessels.

But workers at BAE Systems Maritime Services in Portsmouth naval base took time out of their day to scrub clean a sailing organisation’s boat for free.

Len Chase wields the power hose.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141090-2) PPP-140414-155855003

Len Chase wields the power hose.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141090-2) PPP-140414-155855003

Wetwheels is a not-for-profit group based in Portsmouth which offers sailing opportunities to disabled, disadvantaged and elderly people.

Dirt which clung to its powerboat and caused extra drag through the water was costing speed, time, and fuel.

Getting it cleaned would normally cost around £450, but BAE Systems offered to lift it out of the water and scrub it for free.

Geoff Holt, the chief executive of Wetwheels, said: ‘We’re delighted at the very kind generosity of BAE Systems for providing us with a free lift and scrub for Wetwheels.

‘This not only saves us money in the actual cost of lifting her but also improves our fuel consumption.

‘This will help our community by freeing up funds allowing us to get more disabled, disadvantaged and elderly people out on the water.’

BAE workers spent yesterday cleaning the powerboat’s hull with pressure washers.

They lifted it out of the water near their small boat workshop in the naval base.

BAE Systems’ Maritime Services product and services training director Les Gregory said: ‘Wetwheels is a fantastic charity and we are delighted to have this opportunity to help them out so they can continue to give people an experience on the Solent they might otherwise never have.’

Wetwheels is a 30ft power catamaran with special adaptations to allow disabled people on board as well as able-bodied sailors.

Geoff, who lives in Shedfield, near Fareham, has been in a wheelchair since a swimming accident in 1984.

In 2007 he became the first disabled person to sail single-handed around the country.

For more information on Wetwheels visit wetwheels.co.uk