Welwyn Garden City worker set to sail the Atlantic

AN adventurous yachtsman will be setting off on the trip of a lifetime when he races across the Atlantic Ocean.

David Brannen, who works in WGC, will be part of a five-strong crew on board the yacht Nightlife.

Their 2,700-nautical mile journey will start in Gran Canaria on Sunday – and should finish in Rodney Bay, St Lucia, around 21 to 25 days later.

They will be competing in the Royal Ocean Racing Club racing division of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers.

They face a tough ordeal at sea.

At least two crew members will be on deck 24/7 in shift rotations which will see each of them have just four hours sleep at a time.

They will also be on food and water rations due to the lack of available space and weight to store supplies.

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David, a development director for Darwin Holidays, based in Parkway, started sailing 30 years ago after giving up his hobby of flying light planes.

Since then he has taken part in countless events, including the Fastnet offshore yacht race seven times, and he has represented Great Britain in the Commodores’ Cup.

It has always been David’s dream to race across the Atlantic – so he leapt at this opportunity.

David, who has four daughters and four grandchildren, said: “I have competed in so many yacht races over the years, but this has always been my ultimate ambition, so I’m just really grateful to finally be getting the chance to do it with such a great group of people.

“Being on a yacht for such a long race in confined space can test even the best of friendships, but I have sailed many thousands of sea miles with most of the crew already.”

The crew is likely to encounter a mixed bag of weather and incredible sea life such as whales, dolphins and even the odd shark during the trip.

He added: “I will certainly miss my family and home comforts, but it will all be worthwhile when we sail across the finish line.

“I can’t wait for the start gun to sound now.”