Organiser of Virgin Challenger Anniversary Celebration Hopeful Branson Will Attend

Crew of the Virgin Atlantic Challenger II

The Virgin Atlantic Challenger II in 1986

The organiser of the 25th anniversary celebration of the record-breaking trans-Atlantic crossing by The Virgin Atlantic Challenger II says she’s fairly hopeful Richard Branson will be visiting.

Kathy Stedeford says members of the crew already confirmed for the trip include Steve Ridgway now Managing Director of Virgin Airlines, Bryher regular and Challenger navigator Dag Pike, Atlantic rower and sailor Chay Blyth and former Tomorrow’s World presenter, Peter Macann.

Branson’s first attempt to break the record in 1985 ended in disaster 140 miles off Scilly when his first boat, Virgin Atlantic Challenger, capsized.

But in 1986, the Virgin team beat the record by two hours although he was denied the coveted ‘Blue Riband’ by the trustees of the award because he had broken two rules of the competition – he had stopped to refuel and his vessel did not have a commercial maritime purpose.

From Radio Scilly

Kathy Stedeford talks about the Virgin Atlantic Challenger II 25th Anniversary Event

Kathy and Mac Mace convinced the organisers to finish their high-profile crossing in Scilly instead of heading for Southampton and she’s been hitting the phones trying to arrange the reunion, again for publicity for the islands.

Mike Hicks and Marian Bennett will host a Town Hall reception for the men on the 29th before they head to the Harbourside Hotel and see what was formerly the yacht club.

The party will then reminisce over lunch at Juliet’s Garden.