Sailing channel in the dark

A former Lympstone Royal Marine and a local policeman braved passenger ferries, the French fishing fleet and a warning from a warship to cross the world’s busiest shipping lane in the dark – all for charity and in a tiny 30-year-old dinghy.

The 22-hour, 120 mile feat, from Jersey to Plymouth, was completed by former Royal Marine Joe Jordan and local policeman Dave Green, raising �2,000 for a trio of charities.

The money will go to the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund, dementia charity the Snowdrop Appeal, and a charity helping mum’s cope with stillbirth, miscarriage and the loss of their baby.

The plan was simple; Royal Marines were going on their annual adventure training jaunt to Jersey, and they would join them and sail back to Plymouth.

Although they were not completely on their own, shadowed by a support vessel, they still had to make the crossing in a 14-foot dinghy more suited to the Exe Estuary than the English Channel.

Joe said: “(Because of)… my paranoia of being run down by a passing ship, we got through several sets of batteries as I highlighted our position by illuminating the sails and reflectively taped mast with the torch.

“After avoiding ships, French fishing vessels and ferries during the dark hours, we enjoyed the breaking dawn… and broke our fast with the snacks being hurled at us by our support vessel.”

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He said: “It was an exhilarating sail when I was on the helm, and absolutely terrifying when Dave was!

“But credit where it’s due – he achieved the record of 10.1 knots surfing down the back of a beast of a wave, although I have to take his word for that, as I had my eyes closed at the time!”

And on the last leg of the journey, with Plymouth in sight, they did not exactly get the heroes’ welcome they expected.

“We knew we were closing in on Plymouth when the warships were sighted, playing with the fast jets,” said Joe.

“Dave initially thought that HMS Bulwark had come out to welcome us; until I pointed out that their tannoy was telling us to keep away, not welcoming us home!”

He added: “Our thanks go to all those who have supported us and who have given so generously.”

Donations can still be made, or online at: