Two sailors who took a Royal Navy boat from Plymouth to Portsmouth this summer have official confirmation they have set a world record for the distance sailed by a two-man dinghy.

Phil Slade and Mark Belamarich, who both work for the Royal Marines in Plymouth, staged the gruelling three-night voyage to raise money for and awareness of The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.

The trip ran the gauntlet of the weather (both too much and not enough wind) and dangers of navigating a small 14-foot boat at night across the busiest sea lanes in the world - all without sleep and in cramped conditions. The route crossed the English Channel twice, from Plymouth to France and return, then eastwards along the South Coast.

Petty Officer Phil Slade, who is the second in command of the Royal Navy Sailing Centre on the Camber at Royal Marines Stonehouse, in Plymouth, said: “We are both relieved that the record was finally confirmed after a three-month wait for the evidence to be reviewed.

“This is such an achievement for us, especially after such a difficult challenge. We worked so hard training and fundraising, then the challenge itself which included a double Channel crossing, to have the reward and recognition of a world record is nothing short of amazing.”

Guiness World Records have verified the details officially with the the following wording: “The world record for the longest distance sailed in a double-handed dinghy is 572.73 km (355.88 mi; 309.25 nautical miles) which was achieved by Phil Slade and Mark Belamarich (both UK) who sailed from Plymouth to Portsmouth via France, between 14-17 June 2016.’’

As well as breaking the world record, the duo raised a staggering £2,626.50 through their Virgin Money Giving page and have cash raised throughout the event which is expected to boost the total figure to £3,000.

A world record certificate will be presented to Phil and Mark (employed by 1Assault Group Royal Marines in Plymouth) at a presentation on Friday 7 October at the Stonehouse Camber.