RYA Multiclass Regatta makes triumphant return

Para sailors enjoy two days of competition and fun on the water
09 Aug 22

Hansas sailing at Multiclass Regatta

The RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta made a triumphant return this weekend (06-07 August) at Rutland Sailing Club.

The best para sailors in the country battled it out on the water in the first Multiclass event since 2019. The sun shone, the wind blew (a bit), the competition was tight, and the buzz off the water electric.

Saturday saw 3 fleet races using the Portsmouth Yardstick (PY) system, followed by a pursuit race on the Sunday.

On the water

Light, patchy and shifty winds dominated the fleet racing. Competing at a Multiclass for the first time, Carolyn Turner (Newhaven and Seaford) led at the end of the day in a 2.rya-4mr with two wins in races 2 and 3. Rory McKinna (Clyde Cruising Club, Hansa 303 Single) just back from a week with the Swiss Sail GP team was in 2nd, Nick Bett, Graham Hall (both sailing Challengers and both from Rutland) and Paul Phillips (Frensham Pond, Hansa Liberty) were not far behind.

Rory McKinna sailing Hansa at Multiclass 2022

The pursuit race on Sunday saw a steadier breeze fill in across Rutland Water, and it was a tense 90 minutes for sailors and spectators alike. Could the Challengers chase down the Hansas? Could the SKUDs stretch their legs and make it to the front? In the end, Paul Phillips in his Hansa Liberty just held off Graham Hall in his Challenger, with Mike Everitt (Frensham Pond) in a Hansa 303 single finishing 3rd.

Jazz Turner, who hot footed it from a week of helming a Sonar at Cowes Week, might have made it to the front in her SKUD (with John Henries) if the race had been a few minutes longer. In the end she had to settle for 9th.

The results

It became incredibly tight at the top of the overall series but ultimately Graham Hall snatched the overall win, and was presented with the Ken Ellis Trophy, with Paul Phillips and Rory McKinna (first youth) in 2nd and 3rd.

RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta 2022 winner Graham Hall

Carolyn Turner took the top placed newcomer, and Frensham Pond took the team trophy. The SKUDs ran their National Championships at the event and Paul Pearson and Richard Johnson just held off Jazz Turner and John Henries.

More than sailing

As always, the Multiclass is about so much more than just the sailors at the front of the fleet.

Lottie Rogers in her first ever regatta and the youngest sailor in the event; Ben Foulsham, a young man with autism sailing a Challenger for the first time and just back from a Tall Ships Youth Trust adventure; Alan Wall sailing a Challenger using switches and servos to steer and control the sails; and Milly Evans, steering an RS Venture with a head switch and sailing for the first time in such a large fleet. Completing just one race on the Saturday was the longest she had ever been out on the water, and she smashed that record out of the park on the Sunday during the pursuit race.

Millie Evans sailing using a head switch

All of the para sailors achieved what they did through commitment, hard work and lots of practice. And of course with a whole load of support behind them from an army of volunteers who nurture their passion for sailing, help them learn and develop despite the obstacles in their way, find technology and equipment that gives them the control and independence they need to race, and spend days getting boats to the venue and ready to be sailed.

The event wouldn't have been possible without the incredible support from Rutland Sailing Club, Rutland Sailability and the RAF Sailing Safety Team.

The 2023 RYA Multiclass Regatta will be hosted at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. Dates will be released shortly.

Find out more about RYA Sailability and opportunities for disabled people to get out on the water. Or check out the full results from the 2022 Multiclass.