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Tuesday 8 March 2016

Students' 24-hour Charity Challenge

It’ll be cold, it could get windy, but it’ll definitely be wet! Thirty-two officer cadets from Southampton Solent University’s Warsash Maritime Academy will be braving the elements this weekend in what is set to be a tough 24 hours.

On Friday 11 March 2016, the intrepid officer cadets, who are currently training to become ships’ officers in the merchant navy, will leave home comforts behind to spend 24 hours in a life-raft in aid of Sail 4 Cancer, a specialist respite charity with a sporting focus.

An experience every seafarer hopes they never have to undergo, the survival challenge will test cadets’ courage, self-confidence, teamwork and endurance.

After boarding their raft, the officer cadets will be floated out into the River Hamble as if they were cast adrift with their boat sinking behind them… and only their tether to buoys at the head of Warsash Maritime Academy’s pier will keep them from experiencing it for real!

Officer cadets training at Warsash Maritime Academy taking part in Sail 4 Cancer

This is the third year running that Warsash officer cadets have supported the challenge, and this year’s team includes two veterans of last year’s event.

Elle Watson, a phase 3 deck officer cadet and ‘seasoned challenger’, says: “When I first got off the raft last year I was adamant I would rather go down with a ship than be in a life-raft again! But once I’d had time to recover, I realised what a great time I’d actually had, despite it being cold and cramped. I love challenges and doing things out of the ordinary, and to take part in a challenge for such a great cause, well it seems stupid not to do it again!”

Senior Lecturer Ian Arnold, who is co-ordinating the event, says: “We’re delighted to be supporting Sail 4 Cancer’s 24-hour life-raft challenge again. The cadets have already begun to raise sponsorship money and we’re hoping that we’ll raise as much, if not more, than previous years.”

Last year the team raised more than £13,000. You can help the cadets beat this by donating on the Team Warsash Sail 4 Cancer webpage.

Last year’s officer cadets taking part in Sail 4 Cancer

Companies supporting this year’s challenge include Survitec Group, who are providing the life-rafts; Sunsail Events, who are providing life jackets and foul weather gear; Sodexo, who are providing hot food to help sustain the cadets through the challenge; and The Warsash Association, who are supporting the team and will be providing each of the cadets with a keepsake to help them remember what they have achieved.