Ten young people from Cheshire set off on the trip of a lifetime in a yacht race and went on to win!
The Cheshire teenagers were competing with other Northwest force areas, as part of the Chief Constable’s Challenge. They set sail from Portsmouth on Saturday 22 October and their voyage would have finished at the Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool on Friday 28 October, however severe weather meant the course had to be rerouted.
During the summer, the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Serena Kennedy, challenged three other forces to take to the seas for a yacht race.
The challenge, which was previously postponed due to the Covid pandemic, saw four 72ft Challenger yachts with groups of young people on board from Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and Greater Manchester taking part.
The young people, aged 15-17 years old, were nominated by their respective schools and selected by an independent panel.
On the Cheshire Crimebeat-funded yacht, were PC Gareth Gill and PCSO Mandy Simpson who were supporting the youngsters.
PC Gareth Gill said:
"Our young people were a credit to the county, not only stepping up to the challenge, but beating the other yachts in the process. Well done team!
“Of course it wasn’t just about the race, these young people were learning lifelong skills and increasing confidence in their abilities.
“Despite the weather meaning we had to reroute and were unable to get to the docks, they didn’t miss out on any opportunities and we still managed to put on a fantastic racing experience for all the young people on board.”
Cheshire Constabulary’s Chief Constable, Mark Roberts, said:
“Congratulations to our Cheshire team for winning the race, they did us proud. It is great to know that these young Cheshire residents experienced something so exciting and that they will never forget it. I sincerely hope their experience will have given them a real boost in skills and confidence.”
The trip, run in partnership with Tall Ships Youth Trust, saw the young people take part in all aspects of sailing, from cooking and cleaning to setting the sails and taking the helm of an ocean-going racing yacht.
Working with the Oceanographic Department in Liverpool John Moores University they were also be involved in a research project about sea pollution.
The teams had to live on board the yacht, working in shifts to complete duties throughout the day and night. The aim is for the youngsters to develop long-term life skills including team working, confidence building and problem-solving skills.