Round-the-world team gets back together 10 years after big event

TOGETHER AGAIN Some of the team that sailed around the world as part of the Global Challenge in 2004/5       Picture: Ruth Scammell
TOGETHER AGAIN Some of the team that sailed around the world as part of the Global Challenge in 2004/5 Picture: Ruth Scammell
Black Star Riders: from left, Scott Gorham, Chad Szeliga, Ricky Warwick,  Robbie Crane and Damon Johnson.  Picture by Richard Stow

Black Star Riders come under Heavy Fire on their latest tour

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WHEN this group of sailors embarked on a voyage around the world 10 years ago, they had no idea how close they would become.

Now, three marriages and six babies later, they have reunited to mark the 10th anniversary of their 35,000-mile race.

The group put together a team for the Global Challenge 2004/5 called Team Stelmar and they reunited in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth.

Four of the couples met on the boat and got together, with three of them going on to get married and six babies being born.

Alex Alley, 43, and Paula Reid, 47, met during the trip and now live in St Mark’s Road, Alverstoke, Gosport. They organised Saturday’s reunion.

Alex, now an inspirational speaker, said: ‘We went through the highest highs and the lowest lows together.

‘We had two medical emergencies and set some records.

‘That brought us together and bonded us as a team.

‘We were together 24 hours a day, seven days a week for almost a year.

‘At times there were life-threatening situations.

‘We were looking out for each other which brought us together as well.’

Paula, who runs her own leadership development company, added: ‘It’s amazing. You can’t describe it.

‘There is so much knowledge of each other – we know each other inside out.’

The team met at Gunwharf Quays and went for a meal together before setting sail for an anniversary boat trip.

Alex added: ‘It was a massive adventure and a huge experience for all of us.

‘The crew was from all walks of life, a real mix of people.

‘Some were professional sailors at one end of the spectrum and people like Paula, an absolute novice, at the other end of the spectrum.’

Team Stelmar was widely-covered in The News, as it came in sixth place in the 2004 race, which was won by BG Spirit.

There were 18 crew members and 14 made it to the reunion. They went out sailing on one of the original boats from the race.

People flew in from as far afield as Holland and Sweden.

Paula, who is in training for a 580-mile cross-Antarctic challenge to raise money for charity, added: ‘We get together every year. So as a whole team we’re close which is amazing after 10 years.
‘This is our first sailing reunion for 10 years so it’s the first time most of us have been back on the old boat that we lived on for a year.’