Published: 26/05/2005, Volume II5, No. 5957 Page 36

The NHS is not just the largest employer in Europe; it also creates the continent's biggest single-class regatta. A total of 44 teams gathered in Cowes last month for the 15th NHS Regatta to compete against each other over four races.

In the end there were only three races - a lack of wind meant the final race was abandoned - but the winner was clear: Hurstwood Park Neurological Centre.

The core of the team continued a successful run following their victory two years ago and their commendable second place last year.

Skipper Carl Hardwidge, a neurosurgeon, was delighted with the victory and singled out his NHS teammates for special praise: urologist Peter Thomas, paediatrician anaesthetist Duncan Macdonald, orthopaedic specialist registrar Kate Gill, and physiotherapist George Kirikulios.

'One of the great things about sailing is that It is the ultimate team sport, ' says Carl. 'Everyone has to play their role to make the boat move along as rapidly as possible. It is a great analogy for the NHS to learn from.' Second place in the regatta went to the team from Chichester Hospital and third to North Hampshire Hospital. Papworth Hospital foundation trust came last.