Record-breaking sailing attempt raises thousands for the RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

On Sunday 30 June, Will Hodshon, 42, and Rich Mitchel, 44, successfully completed the fastest ever UK mainland circumnavigation in an open sailing dinghy and have so far raised over £6,000 for the RNLI and Surfers Against Sewage.

The record attempt, named ‘Nipegegi Round Britain’, was not all plain sailing as Will and Rich overcame hazardous and arduous sea conditions to complete the epic 1,390 nautical mile journey unassisted and non-stop in just 15 days and 4 hours. The boat named Nipegegi, is a 60-year-old, 16 foot Wayfarer sailing dinghy and was bought at the 1959 London Boat Show by Will’s grandfather, Bill Hodshon, who named it by combining the names of his four children, Nick, Penny, Geoff and Gill.

Will, a Marine Geoscientist from Wiltshire, and Rich, a Marine Biologist from Fort William, are lifelong friends and highly experienced endurance adventurers on land and sea. Not only have they achieved an incredible feat and set a new record, the team also used the opportunity to raise money for ocean-based charities the RNLI and Surfers Against Sewage. They have already raised over £6,000 and Water Smart Foundation have committed to helping them reach their £10,000 goal.

On their decision to fundraise for the RNLI, Will said:

‘Having had a lifelong connection with the sea through sailing and other water sports, we have always valued the work of the RNLI.

‘In addition to the emergency lifesaving work of the RNLI, we are also passionate about the fundamental educational role the organisation plays in water safety which is vital for an island nation such as ours.’

Rich described how he has a personal connection to the RNLI after he was rescued by a lifeboat in Cornwall:

‘During a solo sailing trip from St Agnes in Cornwall to St Agnes in the Isles of Scilly, I started taking on water off Land’s End and kept capsizing. Fortunately, the volunteer RNLI crew at Sennen Cove rescued me four miles off Land’s End.

‘The team were absolutely amazing! They told me to wear a dry suit next time – which I did for Nipegegi Round Britain - and gave me a cup of tea and a pasty before driving me back to St Agnes!’

Salcombe Harbour marked the start and the finish line of this incredible sailing record, with the pair being towed out by Mike Wrigley, Salcombe RNLI’s Deputy Launching Authority, on Saturday 15 June during the Historic Lifeboats Weekend - a part of Salcombe RNLI’s 150th Anniversary celebrations.

The volunteer crew at Salcombe RNLI continued to monitor the team’s progress on their voyage as the boat carried a tracking mechanism provided by Will’s employer, Lloyd’s Register, which updated their position every thirty minutes.

After 15 days and 4 hours, Will and Rich crossed the finish line at 6.42pm on Sunday 30 June. The team received an incredible reception back in Salcombe with over 15 boats coming out to escort them back, including the current Salcombe RNLI Atlantic 85 Gladys Hilda Mustoe and a vintage RNLI lifeboat.

Notes to editors

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Suzanne Gattrell Hodshon

Will Hodshon and Rich Mitchel with the boat Nipegegi, before beginning the record-breaking journey

Suzanne Gattrell Hodshon

Mike Wrigley, Salcombe RNLI's Deputy Launching Authority towing out the team ready for departure

Suzanne Gattrell Hodshon

Will Hodshon and Rich Mitchel sail along the British coastline on Nipegegi - a 16 foot Wayfarer dinghy

Pure Ionic Water/Wet Group

Will Hodshon and Rich Mitchel being towed back into Salcombe Harbour after completing the record-breaking journey

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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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