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Wednesday 26 March 2014

Solent cadets Sail 4 Cancer

Over the weekend, a group of intrepid officer cadets from Warsash Maritime Academy (WMA), which is part of Southampton Solent University, braved rain, hail and gusts of 40 knots to raise much needed funds for sailing respite charity, Sail 4 Cancer.

On Friday 21 March, the 38 cadets experienced first-hand what it would be like to be cast adrift with their ship sinking behind them, when they spent 24 hours in five life rafts which were secured to two buoys in the River Hamble.

Despite fierce winds, driving rain and low temperatures, all of the cadet officers made it through the night, with one even managing to sleep through from midnight to 6am! A delivery of bacon butties, hot tea and chocolate helped to warm them up, lift their spirits and complete the challenge.

Speaking after their eventful 24 hours, Deck Officer cadet Georgia Atkins said: “It was probably the best and the worst 24 hours of my life, but I can say that even with force 8 winds, heavy rain and hail I would happily do this again!”

WMA’s Cadet Liaison Officer David Baker is very proud of their achievement. “The difficult weather conditions made the challenge a lot harder than first expected. The stormy conditions really tested their resolve, but they pulled each other through. It was great to see the camaraderie that grew out of the experience.”

As well as being a valuable exercise for merchant navy officers of the future to experience, their efforts have so far raised more than £11,500.

This is the first time that a maritime academy has taken part in Sail 4 Cancer’s 24 hour liferaft challenge, which raises funds to provide respite breaks for families affected by cancer.

Sail 4 Cancer’s Fundraising Manager, Lizette van Nieker, enjoyed working with the Officer Cadets at WMA and praised their enthusiasm for the charity’s work:

“This was one of the most successful challenges we have done so far – definitely the hardest and logistically most challenging. The fundraising from this challenge is going to make such a difference,” she said.

Donations can still be made through a link to the Team Warsash Sail 4 Cancer webpage.

Warsash Maritime Academy (WMA), the commercial maritime arm of Southampton Solent University, has provided first-class education, training, consultancy and research to the international shipping, commercial yacht, offshore oil and gas, and renewables industries for almost 70 years. The academy provides internationally recognised certification programmes for both deck and engineer officers from cadet level to Master (Captain) and Chief Engineer. It also offers short safety courses to develop skills such as firefighting and sea survival, and continuous professional development modules for more experienced officers. The use of bridge, engine room and liquid cargo operations simulators are offered for higher level training, including their specialist ship handling training centre, of which it is one of only three major facilities of its kind in the

Southampton Solent University offers more than 23,000 students over 200 qualifications ranging from HND to PhD, in subjects such as maritime education and training, fashion and design, media and television, music, health, sport and leisure, business, IT and technology. The University was awarded the 2013 Quality Assurance kitemark for quality and standards of teaching and learning. Solent was voted one of the most creative universities in the UK in a Which? University 2013 poll of students. Solent Business School has been awarded ‘Gold approval’ by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

Sail 4 Cancer was set up in 2001 by a group of keen sailors who had all lost a close friend or relative to cancer. Sail 4 Cancer is primarily a provider of water-based respite days and breaks for families affected by cancer. The charity also makes grants to cancer care centres and supports research into the positive effects of exercise (e.g. sailing) and how it can help prevent cancer and aid recovery post diagnosis. Sail 4 Cancer is UK Registered Charity Number 1090133.