Two sailors have been backed by two charities as they plan to break their own dinghy endurance world record.

The ambitious voyage, from Plymouth to Scotland, will not only raise awareness of dinghy sailing as a sport, especially within the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, but also raise awareness and funds for The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and Bowel Cancer UK.

Last year Acting Petty Officer Phil Slade and MOD civilian Mark Belamarich MBE sailed a Royal Navy Bosun sail training dinghy non-stop from Plymouth to Portsmouth (via Sept-Iles in France).

Their spectacular voyage of 309.25 nautical miles was recognised by Guinness World Records as the longest distance ever sailed in a double-handed dinghy.

Left to Right – dinghy sailors Mark Belamarich and Phil Slade model the new charity shirts for their world record endurance ‘Bosun Challenge’

Breaking new ground

Over the first three weeks in May this year Mark (a sea survival instructor with 1 Assault Squadron Royal Marines), and Phil (from the RN/RM Sail Training Centre at Royal Marines Stonehouse) will try to break their own record by sailing over 500 nautical miles of open sea from Plymouth to Faslane in Scotland.

Mark has a very personal reason for supporting Bowel Cancer UK not only did he survive the disease but his family is living with the consequences. He said: “It’s a privilege in supporting the two charities, bowel cancer has caused much sadness through the generations within my family, raising awareness for those under 50 in particular the 20-30 age range is extremely important. Early detection means better survivability - at 26 I thought my world had fallen apart now at 45 it very much alive.”

Phil explained why the pair are taking on such a testing challenge: “We are very privileged to be able to raise awareness and funds for the RNRMC and Bowel Cancer UK, especially doing what we love to do. We are pushing the bounds of the envelope and taking Bosun sailing to the next level, in hope that whether you are a sailor or not, you will understand what we are taking on for these brilliant charities.”

Support Phil and Mark's 2017 record breaking attempt, 'Bosun 500 Challenge' at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/bosunchallenge500