Kite 4 Heroes: well done, boys

The event was a joint effort between the three services, and travel company Ticket to Ride, aiming to raise at least £10,000 for the charity Help For Heroes using a Kitesurfing Challenge.

The Island of Alderney is just off the Cherbourg peninsular, and so was the perfect start point. This is the first cross channel race of this kind, and was different in that many channel crossings are from the southeast coast of the uk to calais - only 17 miles or so. Alderney to Poole is approximately 70 miles.

The teams left Southampton at 6pm on Thursday 9th September in 3 ribs to cross the channel. The crossing itself was hard going due to heavy seas and the teams arrived at 1am friday morning in Alderney.

The teams left Alderney at 11am on Friday with 70 miles to cross, covering the busy shipping lanes. The race was a relay with all members of the teams having to kitesurf at some point. A different wind to what was forecast made the going difficult and longer than expected.

The teams had to contend with technical problems on the RIBs, kites dropping in the water, variable winds, and Channel shipping. The less than ideal wind direction meant the kiters themselves travelled much further than the 70 mile straight line distance.

Team members had to swap over on to a kite mid channel. The winners were the Navy/Marines followed by the Army (a close second) and the RAF were third. The Navy team member Lt Cdr Jon Platt lives in Lilliput, Poole, and was first to arrive at Sandbanks. He is a Royal Navy Helicopter Pilot Based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset.

Army team members Captain Dan Holloway, Paul Lazenbury, Karl Cadwallander (of Xtremes Learn to Ride) are also Poole residents.

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