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MS Amlin Seamanship Award 2018 has been presented to the race crew of Sunsail 4018

by Kate Moss 20 Sep 2018 15:00 BST 18 September 2018
MS Amlin Seamanship Award 2018 (l-r) Brian Thompson, Sean Rose, Donna Baxter & Sir Robin Knox-Johnston © Mark Jardine

Four ex-service personnel, from charity "Supporting Wounded Veterans", raced on Sunsail 4018 in The Round the Island Race 2018, overcoming significant challenges and achieving a great finish position. Showing true grit and embodying the spirit of the "Race For All" ethos, they beat hundreds of professional and experienced sailors and as such are worthy winners of the MS Amlin Seamanship Award 2018.

A total of 16 injured veterans from "Supporting Wounded Veterans" raced on four boats as part of the charities inaugural "Ocean Challenge" event. Each of the crews undertook five days of intensive training prior to competing in the race. All of the crews made a fantastic effort, surpassing significant personal barriers, but the finish result of the Sunsail 4018 crew makes them stand out particularly.

Sean Rose, Donna Baxter, Scott Robertson and John T are the winning crew. They worked tirelessly throughout the race to achieve an incredible 2nd in class. Not only did they finish on the podium for their class, they were also in the top 70 to cross the finish line overall. From a field of over 1000 yachts it was an incredible achievement.

Sean is a wheelchair user after damaging his spinal cord whilst working at the RAF winter survival school. Donna also suffers from chronic pain and is unable to stand or walk for long periods after suffering a back injury. Scott has a complex PTSI injury alongside an upper and lower spine injury. He uses a stick to walk and is also a part time wheelchair user. John suffers from PTSD, which was recognised in service and followed him into civilian life, causing anger issues and alcohol dependency. He has now become sober and has trained to be an Arborist.

In nominating Sean, John, Scott and Donna, Simon Boulding - Events Director for Sunsail said,

"Sean helmed for over half of the race, but all four were an inspiration. They served their country, suffered great personal pain and challenges as a consequence and have now turned in an amazing result through dedication and determination to their cause."

'Supporting Wounded Veterans' mission is to help medically discharged wounded veterans back into meaningful civilian life and employment. The key programs include 'ski-habilitation' and sailing, mentoring, pain management in conjunction with King Edward VII's Hospital (London), occupational training and providing a family support network.

Looking forward to next year's award, MS Amlin have confirmed that they will be opening up eligibility for the MS Amlin Seamanship Award to notable feats of seamanship occurring throughout the year – not just during the Round the Island Race as has been the case in previous years. Entries can be submitted from 31st January 2019.

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