Image: RYA/Emily Whiting
Mike Everitt from Frensham Pond Sailability was crowned 2018 RYA Sailability Multiclass Champion of Champions at the 11th RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta last weekend.
More than 80 sailors across a whole spectrum of abilities took to the water at Rutland for the UK’s biggest disability sailing event of its kind to compete in eight classes of boat, many of which have been adapted to enable people with disabilities to compete on a level playing field.
Watch a video of the event here
In beautiful sunshine, scorching temperatures and tricky light winds, the event kicked off on Saturday with two hotly contested back to back races followed by the famous Ken Ellis pursuit race.
The event, first staged in 2007, sees sailors who have competed at international level to beginners just finding their way in racing, come together to compete in an annual celebration of what’s possible on the water.
The class winners:
- RS Venture Connect: Chris Hodge and Declan Rock, Sussex Sailability
- Access Liberty: Chris Atkin, Hanningfield Sailability
- Hansa 303 single: Mike Everitt, Frensham Pond Sailability
- Hansa 303 double: Ian Frisby and Paul McCarthy, Swarkestone Sailability
- Challenger: Val Millward, Rutland Sailability
- Hansa 2.3: Lindsay Burns, Frensham Pond Sailability
- Skud18: Allan Smith and Neville Rose, Rutland Sailability
- 2.4mR: Matthew Daly, Bolton Sailing Club
This year, the Multiclass Regatta also had added interest as the sailors selected to represent Britain when sailing makes its Invictus Games debut in Sydney in October were using the event as part of their Games preparations.
Poppy Pawsey who will be helming an Elliott 6 at the Invictus Games in Sydney this October said: “Being back in a boat has helped me a lot with rehab. It’s having that confidence in your ability when out on your own and boats are going in all directions so you have really stick to your guns and believe in everything you’ve been taught. I think it’s the social side as well, just coming here and meeting other people and seeing how inclusive sailing can be for all abilities-it’s inspiring for all of us”.
RYA Sailability Manager Joff McGill added: “There are so many things that make this event stand out including the number of competitors coming together and the camaraderie that exists between them. Some people have been doing this for years, meeting up with old friends but there’s also so many new people this year just exploring their first steps in racing. They get a huge amount of support from both the volunteers and the more experienced sailors”.
Thank you to all the volunteers who worked tirelessly all weekend to make this event possible.
Sailability is the national programme run by sailing’s governing body, the RYA, giving people with disabilities the chance to try sailing and to take part regularly. The network of approved Sailability sites have boats and facilities to cater for every one of all abilities. For more information visit www.rya.org.uk/go/sailability
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