Retired engineer challenges public to guess how long his sailing race will take

John Williams is hoping the challenge will raise money for Ocean Youth Trust North

John Williams sets the clock ticking on his gruelling ocean time challenge for charity
John Williams sets the clock ticking on his gruelling ocean time challenge for charity

He has sailed all over the world, but now John Williams wants the North East public to make a prediction about his next trip.

The retired engineer, of Cullercoats in North Tyneside, has set himself a gruelling ocean time challenge and is hoping he can raise funds for charity at the same time.

He is challenging the public to predict how long he will take to sail around Great Britain and Ireland, one of the world’s most gruelling sailing races, for the charity fundraiser.

John volunteers with Ocean Youth Trust North, a sail training and youth development charity, and is part of a crew taking on a 2000 plus mile sailing race around Great Britain and Ireland.

John and nine crew mates set off from Cowes on the Isle of Wight on Wednesday and will race a 54 foot yacht around the coastline of Great Britain and Ireland, with the aim of completing the race within two weeks.

The Round Britain and Ireland Race takes place every four years and is widely regarded in British sailing as the ultimate test of endurance and skill for yachtsmen and women.

John said: “I have sailed all over the world, from Greenland to Cape Horn but I regard this challenge as one of the toughest tests I’ll ever face. The Round Britain and Ireland is nearly as long as an Atlantic crossing and the changes of direction at headlands, the variety of weather conditions and complex tidal streams will mean we will have to be on full alert the entire time we are racing and keep an intensive watch schedule.

“My grandchildren may think I’m nuts but the team has been training for this event since Spring and has completed over 500 miles of shorter races to qualify us to take part.”

John is asking the public to help him raise funds to support the life changing work Ocean Youth Trust North does with young people.

OYT North provides personal development opportunities and teaches valuable life skills through the medium of Adventure Under Sail voyages aboard its yacht James Cook.

More than 10,000 young people have sailed with OYT North during its 27-year history, from a variety of diverse backgrounds including those not in employment, education and training (NEET’s), visually and hearing impaired, young offenders, Scouts and Guides and groups from schools and colleges.

The residential sailing voyages teach team working, communication and leadership skills and a strong sense of collective responsibility among crew mates.

Steve Lennon, general manager, Ocean Youth Trust North, said: “John is one of our most experienced volunteer sailors and we are hugely grateful to him for raising funds to support our work, especially given how tough this race is, it will be exciting to see if anyone correctly guesses his crew’s time.”

The public can support John’s fundraising challenge by logging onto www.justgiving.com/jrw14gbr . Prizes will be awarded to the person or persons who correctly guess how long John and his crew will take to complete the Round Britain and Ireland Yacht Race.

For more about OYT North and its work visit www.oytnorth.org.uk .

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