RYA Sailability Keelboat League 2023.
Well the teams had put in the effort and built up to this event, trained hard and attended coaching season with steve Irish. These weekends and attending this event is thanks to Sports England Together Fund, RYA Sailability and ARB Tree and Garden Solutions and of course the clubs and volunteers.
All teams arrived to Weymouth through out Friday and checked into RYA Portland house, which provides a great environment for the team to socalize, rest and a short walk to the saying centre. Some of our teams traveled from as far as Windermere to compete in the event and volunteer.
Saturday all teams were registered and the normal photos taken by Lucy in our great kit from Rooster who protected the team in all conditions. Wind was up, and roomers were high we would be delayed, but all teams stayed ready for racing and in the mind set. A briefing from Joff and Race Manger Richard, they sent out a test boat to see what the guests were like. This event was had a larger participation than ever before, a true inclusive event no adaptions just pure TEAM SPIRT and COMMUNICATION, watching out for each other on and off the water. A true inspiration to see.
After a few teams got our to warm up the wind had dropped one final briefing and it was into the racing, keelboat league racing gives you know time to dwell, 12 minuet windward leeward, three minuet starts and a quick turn around for your next race. A pure adrenaline day no matter where you finish. Each team raced around 8-10 races in an average breeze of 15 knots.
All race were so close boats finishing within inches of each other and protests being called seeing boats do their turns. Smiling sailors, left the pontoon at 17:00 and back for a chill and change then back to the centre for a great meal and a chase to chat about the day with other teams.
Teams encompassed all ages and levels of sailing expertise, ranging from those who compete internationally to relative newcomers to the sport, and as well as blind and/or deaf sailors also included sailors with mobility, brain injury, PTSD or processing challenges.
Sunday, racing was closer and it was anyones guess who would take the win right down to the final race, event the dolphin was out keeping an eye on the sailors. It is say to say the training and team work our team had put in paid off, and with our new sailors experiencing very close racing and the new found pressures it can bring with the excitement.
Quotes provided to RYA.
Among those taking part was Blind Sailing World Champion Lucy Hodges, who said: “The event is inclusive with mixed disabilities working as one and this year it was great to see nine teams building on last year. The racing was exciting and close with all the teams improving: 12-minute races means no time to look back, just forward! Thanks goes to all involved. The event is growing and so are all the sailors.”
Deaf Sailing UK’s Richard Walker only recently completed his RYA Level 1 certificate and had a fantastic weekend on the water - including jumping in as a sub with Team Goat when they needed a crew replacement on day one, and joining the winning team on stage for the prizegiving.
It was the first time at the event for Deaf Sailing UK, who went home buzzing, not least from winning the penultimate race of the weekend. As the team summed up: “Huge, huge heart-felt thanks to everyone who made this brilliant event possible and very enjoyable. It is such a massive opportunity as well as stepping stone for the participants from Deaf Sailing UK for development and racing in the future. Let's do it again!”
Thank you again to all our sponsors and again RYA Sailability and British Keelboat for making this event so exciting for all.
Congregations all teams, Blind Sailing finished 2.3.4th a great show, but well done team Goat taking the win.