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British rescuers go for their own circumnavigation challenge

by Derby Telegraph/Sail-World Cruising on 13 Apr 2014
All set to go - British rescuers ready for their own challenge SW
Whether they are cruising sailors or racers, sailors are forever setting challenges for themselves - to sail a new ocean, to be first or fastest to achieve a goal. The rescuers, on the other hand, are usually there to pick up the pieces when plans go awry. Now there's a group of rescuers keen to change that.

Last September, a group of water rescuers planned to circumnavigate Britain in their rigid inflatable boat (RIB). However, when it began splitting just five hours into the voyage, they had to give up the challenge. Now they are planning to try again.

Charity Watersafe UK still made £20,000 for good causes in the aborted attempt, and will hope to raise much more this time round. Starting in June, the brave volunteers of Derbyshire's Watersafe UK Search and Rescue Team (WUKSART) are determined to double their 2013 total.

They aim to circumnavigate the entire 1,999 miles of the British coastline in just nine days, nine hours and nine minutes.

They will be raising money for both WUKSART and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

Project leader Nigel Cobb, 43, told the Derby Telegraph: 'As operational members of a voluntary search and rescue team we are not new to challenges or raising large amounts of money for charity but this is by far the most challenging project to date.

Setting sail on Thursday, June 12, the lap will begin at the RNLI headquarters in Poole, stopping at RNLI lifeboat stations along the British coastline each day before landing the team back in Poole on Saturday, June 21.

Nigel, of Ripley said, 'There is so much of the British coast we didn't get to see, so it will be a brilliant experience. There will be points where we can spot dolphins and we're looking forward to seeing all the Scottish scenery around the top of the country.'

WUKSART is a voluntary search and rescue organisation operating within Derbyshire and the East Midlands region.

It also works in partnership with Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, Derbyshire Police and Derby Mountain Rescue Team, providing support in water rescues, flood relief and searches for missing people.

Backed by both local and national sponsors, the team have a huge amount of support as they prepare to tackle this unique challenge. 'We are extremely thankful to the Derby VW Van Centre and Imperial Commercials. They have donated their services and will be supplying us two VW Transporter Kombi vans for our challenge support vehicles.'

WUKSART members are dedicated fund-raisers with a charity car wash at Ripley fire Station last month achieving £533 to split between it and The Firefighters' Charity.

Keen to embark on the 999 Coastal Challenge once more, Nigel said: 'We've been doing lots of training over the last three or four weeks, getting everything ready and the boat fit for the sea.'

Yesterday, the teams took the boat out for testing around the Isle of Wight to make sure it was sturdy enough to take on the challenge successfully.

Based in Derbyshire, the team often train on the River Derwent in Derby, practising core skills and paddle boat handling.

The boat for the challenge will be supplied by Andre Scott, the director of Parker Ribs, based in Southampton.

To donate to WUKSART and the RNLI, visit www.justgiving.com/wuksart
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