The annual Reginald Fessenden Challenge is the chance for a number of companies from the UK submarine sector to come together to show their competitive edge and raise money in aid of a great cause, The Not Forgotten Association.
This year there were 18 teams setting sail from Hamble with the aid of their professional skipper aboard a Beneteau Oceanis 37. The challenge began peacefully enough the evening before with a welcome BBQ and a chance to size up the competition. Our yacht was the Avant Garde which also served as our accommodation for the night to help enable our sea legs.
Up with the lark the following day, everyone had a safety briefing and a few practice runs in the calm waters of the morning providing an introduction to the basics of yachting for the novices. As the wind picked up the racing began – the best of three races decided the winners. Joined by Mark Thistlethwaite and race veteran Graham Carver, Skipper Pete steered the SMI team to a surprising debut victory.
Of course the real winner is The Not Forgotten Association which is a national Tri-Service charity which provides entertainment, leisure and recreation for the serving wounded, injured or sick and for ex-service men and women with disabilities. Nearly £5,000 was raised through the event which will help them continue their fantastic work.
A great day was rounded off by a chance to catch up with the other teams and the Royal Navy personnel attending. We’ll be back to defend our title in 2020, so we’ll see you then.