Team of amateur sailors take on challenging transatlantic race

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A TEAM of amateur sailors had an intense training weekend off Portsmouth in preparation for a famous transatlantic race later this month.

The 12-strong crew, backed by a professional skipper, his mate and two watch leaders, has signed up for the high-profile Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) with sailing specialists First Class Sailing.

Starting and finishing in Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, the crew explored the eastern Solent and moored overnight in Cowes on the Isle of Wight before approaching Southampton the next day and doubling back for Portsmouth.

Ricky said: ‘This race is nothing trivial, it’s a huge challenge.

‘We’re dealing with nature. The ARC will throw up “rolly” waves of eight to 10 feet and on a stormy day those numbers could double.

‘We’ve got the right formula to compete.’

Charlie Tulloch, principal at First Class Sailing said: ‘Training has gone well for the crew. They practised some of the vital skills needed to operate the yacht and got over 50 miles under their belts. The ARC is a tough challenge and isn’t for the faint-hearted.’

Beginning in the Canary Island resort of Las Palmas on the November 20, the ARC will conclude in St Lucia two weeks later, with over 200 vessels taking on the 2,700-mile voyage.

During the training weekend, members of the crew on the 72-foot long racing yacht were put through their paces by skipper Ricky Chalmers, who will compete in his second successive ARC.