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Renowned seaman to share his adventures

The first man to sail solo around the world in both directions is to host a talk in Gateshead to raise money for a youth development charity.

David Scott Cowper will share stories of his adventures in a fundraising event in aid of Tyneside-based charity Ocean Youth Trust North.

70-year-old David has successfully circumnavigated the world seven times and is regarded as the greatest living single handed navigator by many in the yachting world.

In 1990, he became the first man to sail solo around the world via the Northwest Passage, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The journey took him four years and two months.

He will deliver an illustrated talk at HMS Calliope, on South Shore Road at 7pm on April 18.

"David Scott Cowper's story is an inspirational example as to what can be achieved when you dedicate yourself to a goal and work tirelessly to make it happen.

"We are extremely grateful that David is supporting our work teaching life skills to young people through adventure under sail and we'd urge anyone with a spirit of adventure to come and hear him speak."

– Steve Lennon, general manager of OYT North

Sailors brave the wild Wear

Sailors brave the elements taking their topper boats on the River Wear Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Cold, windy conditions haven't deterred sailors in Sunderland taking to the water.

Topper boats on the River Wear near the marina Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Rough seas caused by the wintry weather has meant the River Wear is a more inviting place to sail.

Waves crash from the sea off Sunderland pier behind the topper boats Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

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Sailors prepare for the Phantom National Championships

by Claire Montgomery

Sailors from across the country are gathering in the North East to compete. It is the first time in more than a decade that the region will host the Phantom National Championships. Fifty dinghies will be taking to the North Sea over the next three days.

The races are being held from Sunderland Yacht Club, which is home to Paralympian John Robertson. His team's final race in the Sonar Class at the Paralympics was cancelled because of a lack of wind off the south coast but strong winds have been causing problems for competitors on Wearside.

Paralympics: John Robertson's team joint 4th so far but "spirits are still high"

John Robertson from Sunderland and his team go into today's races in joint fourth place, in the Sonar sailing class.

The teams all compete eleven times in total over six days and discard the points from their worst race. They are now more than half way through them.

Robertson told the Royal Yachting Association the team is still feeling confident.

"It’s tough; it’s a Paralympic Games so it’s not going to be easy. We always try our best but it is hard work and we will keep working hard.

“With the race course being very close to the shore it was a bit shiftier than normal. We had cracking boat speed all round but in the second race we just lost our way a little bit and couldn’t get to where we wanted to be. Then we just slipped and missed out on the lucky breaks with wind shifts, which a few people had.

"But the spirits are high within the team and we back each other 100 per cent.”

– John Robertson, Paralympic sailor, Sonar class

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