Bricket Wood action man preparing for Atlantic adventure

PUBLISHED: 15:01 18 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:39 06 May 2010

David Brannen

David Brannen

AN ADVENTUROUS yachtsman will be racing across the Atlantic Ocean later this month. David Brannen, from School Lane, Bricket Wood, is fulfilling a life-long ambition by competing in the RORC racing division of the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers,) which

AN ADVENTUROUS yachtsman will be racing across the Atlantic Ocean later this month.

David Brannen, from School Lane, Bricket Wood, is fulfilling a life-long ambition by competing in the RORC racing division of the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers,) which leaves the shores of Gran Canaria on November 22.

He will be among a five-strong crew on the yacht Nightlife hoping to complete the 2700 nautical mile passage in between 21 and 25 days before docking at Rodney Bay, St Lucia.

At least two members of the crew will be on deck 24/7 in shift rotations which will see each of them have just four hours sleep at a time for the duration of the trip.

The crew, who have chosen a course which will initially take them south towards the Cape Verde Islands to pick up the strongest and more favourable winds, will also be on food and water rations due to the lack of available space and weight to store supplies.

Their biggest concern is how long the race will take as wind is such a big variable but David, who has four daughters and four grandchildren, hopes to fly home on December 22 in time to spend Christmas with his family.

The St Stephen parish councillor, who works as a development director for Welwyn Garden City-based Darwin Holidays, started sailing in his thirties after giving up his hobby of flying light planes during his spare time.

Since then he has taken part in countless races including the Fastnet seven times over and he has represented Great Britain in the Commodores' Cup.

David was also part of a crew on Nightlife which received a special award from the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) for sacrificing their second place in a race to rescue a French fisherman who had fallen overboard.

The man was tangled in his fishing hooks and being dragged behind his boat, which he had knocked into drive as he fell in. He later thanked the Nightlife crew for saving his life in an emotional handwritten letter.

In all his years of sailing, it has always been David's dream to race across the Atlantic - so he leapt at the opportunity when it came up earlier this year.

He said: "I have competed in so many yacht races over the years but this has always been my ultimate ambition so I'm just really grateful to finally be getting the chance to do it with such a great group of people.

"Being on a yacht for such a long race in confined space can test even the best of friendships but I have sailed many thousands of sea miles with most of the crew already."

David and his fellow crew mates are likely to encounter a mixed bag of weather and incredible sea life such as whales, dolphins and even the odd shark during the trip ahead.

He added: "I will certainly miss my family and home comforts, but it will all be worthwhile when we sail across the finish line. I can't wait for the start gun to sound now.

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