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GJW Direct 2020

Sunsail new fleet of yachts launched

by Sarah Heron 11 Mar 12:00 GMT

A brisk breeze and the merest hint of sunshine greeted us as we made our way out of Port Solent's lock in Portsmouth ready for a morning's sailing around the Harbour. We were here to experience the newest model in Sunsail's fleet, the 41.0 from Jeanneau.

I was aboard Breathe Oceanic, one of 15 new yachts destined to be part of Sunsail's brand new UK fleet, with 10 more arriving in 2021. The boats are so new that our morning started off with an official naming ceremony where both Breathe Oceanic and her sister vessel The Magenta Project were liberally doused in Opihr gin.

My fellow crew for the day included Ollie Phillips, former English Rugby 7's captain who joined the Clipper race after retiring from rugby. Now a women's rugby coach and seasoned sailor, he's a keen ambassador for Sunsail. Hyde Sails have supplied the new fleet and their MD Nigel Grogan was there to keep an eye on things, while Nick Covell, Mike Philpott and Martin Robinson were on board as sponsors from Breathe Oceanic, a charity set up to promote the benefits of sailing and sea air to cystic fibrosis sufferers and under-privileged children.

Sailing alongside us was The Magenta Project who along with Breathe Oceanic have sponsored the boats. Set up by some of the all-women crew of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race, their goal is to get more women into sailing, whether it's dedicated race training before regattas, improving helming skills, or by actively creating pathways for women into the sailing profession and the marine industry both on and off the water. As a Sunsail partner, they have found crew, skippers, coaches, and many more female employees who first train with the Magenta Project and then bring their skills to Sunsail.

The new fleet has been designed for racing, cruising, corporate charter and RYA training, with bases in Portsmouth, Southampton, Cowes and Lymington. With mini Solent-based flotillas on key weekends like summer bank holidays, RYA training, and corporate and racing charter on offer, the boats will perform equally well whether you're cruising around the Solent or racing in Cowes week.

What impressed me about these new 41.0s is the space. A wide, spacious cockpit sat six of us with room to spare, and down below the head-room and roomy cabins can comfortably accommodate bigger groups, with an extremely smart and spacious master cabin complete with shower. Sunsail are now taking bookings for this brand-new fleet.

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