Cannon fire to launch yacht race
The Sussex coast’s largest offshore yacht race, The Royal Escape Race, starts on Friday 24 May from Brighton’s Palace Pier at 8am. This spectacular event will be raising money for the disability charity Sussex Sailability.
Spectators will get a good view from the beach to the west of the pier, where the starts will be marked by a cannon firing from the deck of the Fisheries Protection vessel, ‘Watchful’.
Volunteers from the Shoreham based Sussex Yacht Club organise the event each year, which commemorates Brighton’s place in history as the starting point of Charles II’s 1651 escape to France on board a dirty and neglected little boat from Southwick named ‘Surprise’.
Nearly 60 boats from hard-core racers to family cruisers will be taking part, as they retrace the King’s route across the Channel to Fecamp over the course of 67 nautical miles.
Organisers hope that they will raise essential funds from the entry fees for Sussex Sailability, a charity that helps people with disabilities to learn how to sail and to enjoy the freedom of being out on the water.
Terry Kinch, the Commodore of Sussex Yacht Club said, “This is the 42nd year of The Royal Escape Race and it is as big as ever, with around 60 yachts of all sizes taking part. It will be quite a sight at the starting point and, if it’s a clear day, we should get some good views of the boats from the shore as they head over to France.
“It’s an excellent opportunity every year to strengthen our relationships with sailing clubs from across the Channel and this time we’ll have ten boats coming over from Fecamp to join the race.
“In the past we have raised substantial funds for charities such as The Ellen MacArthur Trust, John Merrick’s Sailing Trust, the Jubilee Sailing Trust and most recently Turn to Starboard, which teaches disabled war veterans to sail. I’m proud that this year we are going to be raising essential funds for Sussex Sailability.”
For further details of the race see www.royalescaperace.co.uk