The doctor, the accountant and the teacher aboard Skandia Passion have been known to sleep in motorway service areas for their sport.
The Skandia Squad at Cowes Week is becoming increasingly popular with more and more applicants each year. To find out what’s so important about being part of the scheme we tracked down the doctor, the accountant and the teacher who comprise the Laser SB3Skandia Passionteam.
Sailors from a very young age, brothers John and Ben Shelley and their friend Graham Priestly have always wanted to compete at Cowes Week. Being based in the north of England places them a long way from some of the leading sailing events but that has not been a deterrent. “Nowhere is too far,” John, the skipper, says. “We travel up and down the country for the love of our sport, stopping at service stations to sleep!”
“Being at Cowes with all of the Skandia Squad support is fantastic,” John continues; “there isn’t a better way you could do it.” The team came first in their class at Cork Week but are still eager to take up the professional coaching opportunities offered by Skandia, just one of the perks in being part of the squad. They are looking forward to sailing with 31 boats in the SB3 one-design fleet at Cowes as well as enjoying the social events.
The two brothers and their friend learned to sail at Ullswater Yacht Club in the Lake District. They sailed Toppers, Lasers and 420s, “practically from birth,” John says, so their success in the sportsboat class aged 24, 25 and 26 is no surprise.
After Cowes Week, John will fly out to Greece to watch the Olympic Games while rest of the crew return to their day jobs, working hard to finance their passion for sailing.