YOUNG people from disadvantaged backgrounds are set to benefit from the efforts of three sailing crews who competed in a Round the Island Winter Fundraising Challenge at the weekend — raising more than £8,500 in support of Tall Ships Youth Trust (TSYT).
The Portsmouth-based charity is the UK’s oldest and largest youth development sail training organisation providing young people aged 12-25, with life-changing experiences for the past 65 years. Its charitable mission focuses its work on helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds across the UK.
Each competing crew took part on one of TSYT’s Challenger yachts, which are famous for having raced several times round the world, as part of the Global Challenge races in 2000/2001and in 2004/2005.
The aim of the challenge was to circumnavigate the Island leaving the Needles, Ventnor, St Catherine’s lighthouse, Bembridge and the rest of the Island to port before finishing near Cowes.
Onboard Challenger 2 was Tide in Knots – a group of like-minded sailors led by Henry and Helen Scutt, on Challenger 3, was Team Excalibur – a crew of individuals who started out as strangers, and on Challenger 4, was Team Worthing from Worthing Sailing Club.
The crews joined their respective Challenger on the Friday (11th) morning for a day of training in the Solent when the conditions were a bit flat. However, on race day the sun shone and the wind picked up with the Challengers reaching speeds of up to 10.5 knots.
The first team to cross the finish line in under six and a half hours was Team Worthing on Challenger 4. The crews celebrated their efforts with staff from TSYT’s fundraising team at a prize-giving dinner at Island Sailing Club in Cowes, on Saturday evening.
Bob Hewitt from Team Worthing, said: “What an event! Team Worthing, set a high bar by completing the race in under six and a half hours hitting boat speeds of 10.5 knots. The average time a cruiser takes is eight and a half hours.
“Thanks to the Commodore Dan England and Committee at Worthing Sailing Club for their help and support and for believing in us, and to all who have donated to Tall Ships Youth Trust.
“Special thanks to our Skipper, Ian Buchele, Mate, Amy Ferrier and our Watch Leader, Sharon South, for keeping us safe and the Island Sailing Club for hosting the prize-giving evening. A truly memorable event!”
James Hudson, Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Tall Ships Youth Trust, added: “Congratulations to all three teams for completing the challenge and for their fantastic efforts in raising vital funds in support of our life-changing youth development work!
“Importantly, we’d like to say a huge thank you from all of us, especially the young people you will be helping.”
Henry Scutt from Team Tide in Knots, which finished in second place, said: “We got really lucky with the weather and enjoyed a cracking sail. The sun shone on us and we all had a good time. We were all exhausted by the end but rewarded and delighted to have raised more than £4,000 for TSYT.”
Peter Moore of Team Excalibur, who is also a volunteer Watch Leader with TSYT, added: “It was a very good event and it didn’t matter that we didn’t win, we were all enjoying it so much, we didn’t want to rush back!
“It was made all the more interesting by the cross-section of people and ages we had onboard, a truly inclusive event, which was great.”
All three teams are expecting their fundraising totals to increase further with more donations to follow and a fundraising event planned by Team Worthing next month.
If you or your sailing club would like to get involved in Tall Ships Youth Trust’s next fundraising challenge, contact James Hudson.