Girl Guides’ leader taking on big sailing challenge

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A Guide leader from Mansfield is getting ready for the adventure of a lifetime as she embarks on training to take part in the 2015 Fastnet sailing race.

April Ulyatt, 23, joined Girlguiding Nottinghamshire as a Rainbow at the age of four, and now helps run three local units—the 14th Mansfield Rainbows, 19th Mansfield Guides and 1st Mansfield Powell Rangers.

As she prepares to take part in the grueling ocean challenge, our landlocked location is not the only obstacle she plans to overcome.

“I decided to take part in the Fastnet Race both as a personal challenge and to help show the world that girls are capable of doing everything that boys do,” says April.

The Fastnet is the oldest regular ocean-racing event in European waters and is infamous for its choppy weather conditions. April will join six colleagues from the South East region to form Girlguiding UK’s first ever team in the event crewing a 72-foot Challenger yacht.

“Guiding opens up so many possibilities to girls and young women like me,” says April. “I’m very excited about the prospect of doing something different, learning new skills and making new friends.

“Plus, while I get travel sick on trains, cars, and even planes, I’m fine on boats!”

Training begins in Southampton next month with the Tall Ships Youth Trust, and there will be several more sessions and cross-channel sea trials scheduled in the run-up to the race itself.

In the meantime, April is focused on building fitness and fundraising for her travel, equipment and accommodation.

Anyone interested in supporting April on their Fastnet adventure can contact her via, or visit her fundraising page at

April will also be blogging the adventure at

First held in 1925 and run every two years since, the 90th Rolex Fastnet Race starts in Cowes on August 16. It takes in landmarks like The Needles, Portland Bill, and Land’s End and before finishing in Plymouth.