Royal Navy fast patrol vessel HMS Charger will visit Portrush in support of the 33rd annual RNLI Portrush Raft Race on Saturday and Sunday (May 24 and 25).
The ship will visit ‘the Port’ for the weekend, and will mark the finish line from her position in the harbour. The ship’s company will also enter a team into the race, ably assisted by members of HMS Hibernia, the Royal Navy’s Reserve unit based in Lisburn.
The raft race should see 60 home made craft, manned by teams of three to six brave sailors, propelling themselves across the surf from West Bay strand into Portrush Harbour. The competition is fierce, but the Royal Navy team, competing for the first time, are confident that they are up to the challenge.
HMS Charger is attached to Liverpool University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) where she supports officer cadet undergraduates to gain some experience of life in the Royal Navy and to teach them nautical skills that they can use throughout their lives. The ship spends most weekends and periods during Easter and the summer at sea, exploring Irish Sea ports, and travelling further afield to Iberian or Baltic ports. She is no stranger to Northern Irish waters, visiting on three occasions already this year including recent support to the annual Battle of the Atlantic commemorations in Derry/Londonderry.
Her Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Ian Critchley, said: “We look forward to the great welcome and craic that is guaranteed each time we make it to Northern Ireland.”
The Royal Naval Reserve contingent supporting the Raft Race will also be manning an information and recruiting stand in Portush. The Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Fleet Auxiliary are actively recruiting for full time and Reserve personnel. Northern Ireland’s Royal Navy Reserve unit is HMS Hibernia located in Lisburn, and a Royal Marine Reserve detachment is located in Holywood. Many jobs require no formal qualifications and education sponsorship is available. Careers advisors will be available throughout the Event.
More details on the RNLI Portrush Raft Race can be found at www.portrushraftrace.co.uk