HE is best known for his bone-crunching tackles on the rugby pitch but yesterday England flanker Joe Worsley turned his hand to a slightly less physical sport as he took to the water at Cowes Week.

The 31-year-old rugby union ace stepped onboard a Clipper Ventures yacht with England teammate Tim Payne as part of the celebrations for his testimonial year.

Over yesterday and today Joe and Tim will be joined on the yacht by eight guests who bid for the chance to sail with the pair at Joe’s testimonial dinner held at Twickenham in October.

Speaking to the Daily Echo from the middle of racing, Joe said: “It’s great fun being out on the water.

“Ever since we announced the plans for the testimonial year I have been looking forward to coming back to Cowes.

“Tim loved it too, sat on the boat he looked like a kid at Christmas.”

Today sees fellow England and Lions forward Simon Shaw join in the fun on the Solent.

All funds raised from Joe’s testimonial year will be divided between three charities – the Lymphoma Association, the Burned Children’s Club and the Professional Rugby Players’ Association.

Other events held for his testimonial year have included a fashion show and dance-off featuring famous rugby faces as well as training days at Twickenham.