Transatlantic voyager sails to £7k, raised for hospice and cancer charities

Marc Sidney, known among friends 'for doing crazy things', sailed 2,000 miles across the Atlantic with his crew


Three years ago, a fitness trainer suggested to Marc Sidney that taking up sailing would assist his recovery from injury.

Now the 59-year-old chartered surveyor has just completed a 2,000-mile voyage across the Atlantic which has raised around £7,000 for hospice and cancer charities.

Mr Sidney and his crew made the journey between St John’s in East Canada and Cowes on the Isle of Wight, known as the Marconi route, in honour of the inaugural Transatlantic wireless transmission in 1801.

“This route is very rare and will probably soon be scrapped because it is not very popular,” the North Londoner explained.

“Usually, people who cross the North Atlantic start much further south in somewhere like New York.”

The attraction was the route’s challenging nature. “Some may call it the peak of a mid-life crisis. I saw it as the optimal test of my mental and physical strength.”

His wife Angie interjected: “He is known among our friends for doing crazy things but this did take the biscuit.” At the age of, 51, he had represented GB as a Greco-Roman wrestler at the Fila world veteran championships in Belgrade.

Mr Sidney explained that for the size of boat, “a racing crew is usually about 16 to 20 people. But we only had seven. You get to the point where your clothes are constantly damp.

“I had to do a lot of helming, which is not usually my forte but it was great fun.

“We were surrounded by dolphins for about 30 per cent of the tour and I was even eyeballed by a sperm whale that popped up right beside the boat.

“What resonated with me was the peace at night when you might be alone steering the boat. You realise you are thousands of miles from anywhere — it is just you in the middle of the ocean.

“You have to take time to appreciate that because very few people will be able to experience it.”

He added that the ten-and-a-half day experience was “relentless. But honestly, I would do it over again in a heartbeat.”

Mr Sidney — who is currently taking an osteopathy degree at the College of Osteopaths — said the money raised will be split between the North London Hospice and Cherry Lodge Cancer Care.

The Sidneys wanted to support Cherry Lodge in memory of their “dear friend” Amanda Summers, who was a trustee of the charity.

And the local hospice was also chosen as the couple “have seen a lot of our friend’s parents spend their last days there. We just know how much it means to everybody who uses that facility.”

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