On Saturday 2 July 2016, Eastbourne College Year 10 pupil Annabel Symes and eight other cadets from schools across the UK joined two RN CCF yachts to compete in a one-day yacht race around the Isle of Wight.
The ‘Round the Island Race’ regularly attracts over 1,500 boats and approximately 16,000 sailors, making it one of the largest yacht races in the world. It is the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK after the London Marathon and the Great North and South Runs.
The very windy conditions forced several boats to withdraw before the start and others to pull out during the event due to "lost rigging and rudders" and sadly one boat sank. A number of craft lost their masts and several people were injured or rescued.
However, the cadets, some of whom had not even been onboard a yacht before and none had raced previously, performed superbly and finished well within the top third of competitors. They all showed tremendous physical and mental strength to work together to crew the boats around the course in a Force 8 gale whilst still smiling.