There was home cheer for three sailors from Rutland Sailability as they lifted trophies at the 2017 RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta on the event’s 10th anniversary.

Over two days of racing at Rutland Sailing Club, Grantham’s Val Millward led a Rutland Sailability 1-2-3 in the Challenger trimaran class, with club mate and 2016 Multiclass Challenger champion, Graham Hall, in second and Jack Alderdice third.

Meanwhile, in the SKUD-18 two-person skiff, Neville Rose made it back-to-back titles, this year claiming the Open Fast class crown with the hugely experienced 2004 Athens Paralympian, Allan Smith, at the helm.

No fewer than 22 of the 50 competing boats were representing the host club, with 74 sailors from across the country doing battle for honours in seven classes. Racing took place on Saturday and Sunday and included what for many was the highlight of the weekend, the perennial Ken Ellis Pursuit Race Trophy. 

That was certainly the case for Allan and Neville as they finished second behind Pursuit Race winner, Paul Phillips in his Hansa Liberty.

Allan said: “The Pursuit turned out to be a great race with five different classes in the first six boats. Paul said he made a big gain on the other Libertys on the first windward leg and just held on, with Neville and I in the SKUD, plus the British Sailing Team’s Megan Pascoe in the 2.4mR and Val in the Challenger closing him down.

“We were actually lucky; with only seconds before the final gun we tacked and virtually stopped dead as we had sailed into a mass of weed! Luckily it did not affect our second place in the race.”

The inaugural RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta was held at Rutland SC in 2007 and was the first time so many different fleets had met and raced together. In a variety of weather conditions, including heavy rain at times, two hotly contested back-to-back class races were followed by the Pursuit Race on Saturday before sailors enjoyed the final two races in near perfect conditions - sunshine and plenty of breeze – on Sunday.

Joff McGill, RYA Sailability Manager, concluded: “It was my first time experiencing the event and despite some challenging weather at times we had a fantastic regatta. The event brings together sailors of all ages and abilities who share a passion for getting out on the water and we saw some really exciting racing”.

Thank you to all the volunteers who worked tirelessly all weekend to make the event possible including the RAF Sailing Association. Thanks also go to event sponsors Rutland Sailability, Marathon Leisure, Rooster Sailing, RS Sailing and Oakham School.

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 British network of no fewer than 221 RYA-approved Sailability sites have boats and facilities to cater for people across the whole spectrum of abilities. For more information about RYA Sailability, including the Multiclass Regatta, visit www.rya.org.uk/go/sailability