What do ski company bosses do in the summer?
In the case of James Hardiman of Alpine Elements, it's take on a tough personal challenge and race across the Atlantic Ocean for charity.
James, director of both Alpine Elements for wintersports and newly-formed Ocean Elements for watersports holidays, will be racing in the ‘Azores and Back’ race (otherwise known as the AZAB), starting on June 5th.
The race covers 2,500 miles and is the UK's biggest ocean yacht race of the year. It has been a regular event since 1960. This year's AZAB has around 60 yachts taking part. For the majority of yachts the outward voyage is around 7 and 10 days, a few days spent in port allow them to make repairs and restock, and then it's the journey back.
In carrying out this challenge James hopes to raise in the region of £5,000 for Sail 4 Cancer. (Sponsor him here!)
The AZAB is regarded as one of the most challenging yacht races for competitors, not least those with only a small amount of offshore ocean sailing. Although James has been sailing for 23 years, he only has very limited experience of ocean sailing.
"Although I have been sailing (on and off) for about 20 years, my ocean sailing experience is zero. I have clocked up a few thousand miles inshore/offshore and solo sailing, and recently started to compete, (with some poor results!), in some solo and dbl handed races. My inexperience of the ocean is why I feel it prudent to compete in the Azab double handed with my father. Nevertheless it will be a steep learning curve!" says James. "We are at sea for 8-10 days on each leg and 800 miles from closest land", he added.
James was personally touched by cancer when his mother contracted the disease 25 years ago. She happily made a full recovery, This race is the perfect opportunity for James to combine his passion for sailing with the chance to raise money and awareness of Sail 4 Cancer.
Sail 4 Cancer aims to improve the quality of life for those living with cancer. This is achieved mainly through the provision of water based respite opportunities for cancer patients, their families and those who have been recently bereaved through cancer. Since its inception in 2001 Sail 4 Cancer has provided nearly 6,000 respite days for people living with cancer, helping them to rebuild confidence, create treasured memories and giving them quality time together away from hospital appointments and treatment. Opportunities include UK sailing days, family riverboat holidays, spa days, cruises and watersports holidays abroad.
If you would like to know more about the race, Sail 4 Cancer or make a donation please take a look at James' page on the Sail 4 Cancer website.
Everyone here at CDHQ would like to wish James the best of luck - keep us posted James!