News

March 27th 2017

Volunteer makes waves across the Atlantic

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Petty Officer Alistair Mansfield

An adult volunteer with Northampton Sea Cadets has put his training to good use by sailing across the Atlantic Ocean.

Petty Officer Alistair Mansfield was part of a crew that sailed over 5,000 nautical miles from La Rochelle in France to Fort Lauderdale in Florida.

The 18-year-old is taking a gap year between leaving school and going to University to study International Relations and registered to find work on yachts as well as working as a waiter and Deliveroo driver in Northampton.

He was given the chance to be among a three man crew delivering a 44 foot catamaran to its new American owner.

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View from the boat

Alistair said: “I was given less than a week’s notice for this trip after someone from the original crew dropped out. That meant I had a big last minute rush to get ready. Before this trip, the furthest I’d sailed was a trip across the Channel.

“There were three of us on-board, the skipper has crossed the Atlantic 36 times and the other crew member has done it five times so I’m certainly learned a lot. We took it in turns to cook and do three hours on watch, six off.”

After stops in Lisbon and Madeira, Alistair spent three weeks crossing the Atlantic before arriving at the destination on 19 March. It wasn’t all plain sailing, however the crew are relished steering through the storms rather than having the boat steering on autopilot all the time.

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Alistair on board

Despite a problem with one of the sails and concerns over the amount of fuel they have, they still managed to

deliver the boat on time to the satisfied new owner.

Alistair continued: “I’ve really enjoyed the sailing although I think that I prefer shorter distances where there’s more to do. I wish that I’d bought more entertainment for when I was not on watch, however it’s quite nice to get away from everything.

“The weather was mostly good which certainly makes it more enjoyable and we saw dolphins nearly every day.

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Sunset over the Atlantic

“I’ll definitely be urging all my cadets to go on offshore courses, they’re probably the best thing I ever did when I was a cadet. They’re always a great time and are a fantastic opportunity.

“I’m now looking forward to spending some time exploring America.”

 

“I'll definitely be urging all my cadets to go on offshore courses, they're probably the best thing I ever did when I was a cadet. They're always a great time and are a fantastic opportunity.”