An intrepid group of powerboat racers called Team E-Lites are today embarking on the adventure of a lifetime - a 2,000 mile journey around Britain to raise funds for children's hospices.
Team E-Lites will launch from Salcombe, in Devon, on Thursday morning (21st June) and aim to circumnavigate the country in just 11 days, returning on Sunday 1st July.
Throughout their clockwise route, the team will make 10 stops to hand over to hospices a share of the thousands of pounds that the project is expected to generate. E-Lites, the UK's leading electronic cigarette manufacturer and founder of Team E-Lites, has already donated £3,500 to the cause and hope this can be doubled by auctioning rides in the powerboat along the way.
Team E-Lites, supported by BananaShark Racing, had been hoping to compete in this year's historic RB12 endurance race but when that was postponed a few weeks ago they launched a phoenix-style mission to complete the course on their own in aid of children's hospices.
E-Lites co-founder and director Adrian Everett said: "This is an ambitious undertaking - not just in terms of logistics but in the physical and mental challenges the crew will face as they race over rough seas for several hours a day at high speeds. But determination is in the DNA of E-Lites and we'll do absolutely everything we can to see this through on behalf of the thousands of sick children who will benefit from the money we are raising."
A crew of three experienced drivers and navigators - including championship winners John Cooke, Graham Lawton and Jeremy Gibson - will guide the 38ft BananaShark Stirling powerboat around the route, covering distances of up to 260 nautical miles per day, which will mean several hours spent battling often difficult conditions and high waves.
Beneficiaries will include Little Bridge House in North Devon; Children's Hospice South West; Ty Hafan, near Cardiff; Rebecca House Hospice, in the Isle of Man; Friends of the Beatson, in Glasgow; Children's Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS); St Andrew's Children's Hospice, in Grimsby; Demelza Hospice Care for Children, in Kent; and Naomi House, in Winchester.
CHAS fundraiser Amy Telford, CHAS Fundraiser, said: "We are so grateful that CHAS has been nominated and thank the whole powerboat team for their efforts. We wish them the best of luck for their adventure."
In addition, E-Lites hopes to educate smokers around the country about its leading range of electronic cigarettes, which offer a healthier, use-anywhere, smoke-free alternative to conventional tobacco cigarettes.
To underline this 'clean air' message, the team has ensured carbon neutral status for its powerboat, with highly efficient Yanmar BY260 engines that will drive the craft despite a capacity of only three litres each.
The Round Britain Charity Challenge, supported by Raymarine navigation technology, will be covered online by a GPS tracking system that will chart the crew's progress in real time, while video specialist Veho is supplying cameras that will film the action for viewing via websites and social media.
BananaShark director and co-driver John Cooke said: "Following the postponement of the Round Britain race we were incredibly disappointed but thanks to the incredible generosity and support of E-Lites and our other sponsors we will not only complete the challenge but also make a difference in the local communities."
A map of the full route can be viewed by clicking https://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?msid=209680434691122648109.0004bcc34b4c27debbfce&msa=0&ll=54.007769,-2.504883&spn=8.529424,21.225586?.
To follow the progress of the Round Britain Charity Challenge as it happens, go to www.bananasharkracing.co.uk/tracking-live
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