An intrepid pair of charity fundraisers from the Royal Navy and Ministry of Defence have been crowned Guinness World Record breakers for the ‘Longest Distance Sailed in a Double Handed Dinghy’.
Leading Seaman Phil Slade and Ministry of Defence employee Mark Belamarich sailed 572.73 kilometres (309.25nm) from Plymouth’s Royal Navy and Royal Marines Sail Training Centre Camber on Plymouth Sound to Whale Island in Portsmouth.
The challenge, which took more than three days to complete (71 and 3/4 hours), took place in June in aid of The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC). To date the pair have raised nearly £2,500 – just shy of their £3,000 target.

Entering Portsmouth Harbour (left to right): Mark Belamarich (Ministry of Defence) and Leading Seaman Phil Slade (Royal Navy)

"It's been agony"

“It’s a relief to have the record finally confirmed,” said Phil, who works with 30 Commando Information Group at Royal Marines Stonehouse, in Plymouth, managing the sailing centre.

“It has been agony waiting; always asking did we or didn’t we break the record. We couldn’t be happier with the news. It has made all the pain worthwhile.”

Guinness World Records verified the details officially with 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.’

Celebrating with peers

On Friday 7 October they were finally able to celebrate alongside friends and colleagues at the RNRM Camber Sailing Centre, Plymouth where the pair were presented with their Guinness World Records and congratulated by Major Steve O’Sullivan, Royal Marines

Major Steve O’Sullivan, Royal Marines, said: “I gives me great pleasure to present this Guinness World Records certificate to Mark and Phil to confirm their great achievement. We are very proud of them.

“This was completed in the great tradition of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. They overcame adversity, doubts of others and all that the sea and wind could throw at them to prove nothing is impossible if you are determined and skilled enough and forge a great partnership.”

The pair, who were tracked by a satellite tracking device and a Guinness World Records support team, beat the current record of 555.6 km (300 nm/approx. 345 miles) – the equivalent of crossing the Channel twice – in a basic, unmodified basic 14-foot Bosun Class dinghy.

At Camber Sailing Centre, Plymouth (left to right): Mark Belamarich (Ministry of Defence) and Leading Seaman Phil Slade (Royal Navy)