Around 80 sailors across the whole spectrum of abilities are set to descend on Rutland this weekend as the RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta – the UK’s biggest disability sailing event of its kind – takes place at Rutland Sailing Club (Friday 3 – Sunday 5 August).
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.
This year, the Multiclass Regatta also has added interest as the sailors selected to represent Britain when sailing makes its Invictus Games debut
in Sydney in October will also be using the event as part of their Games preparations.
At the 2017 Multiclass Regatta, no fewer than 22 of the 50 competing boats were representing the host club, Rutland Sailability, with three home sailors - Val Millward (Challenger) and Neville Rose and Allan Smith (SKUD-18 two-person skiff) – lifting trophies.
Joff McGill, RYA Sailability Manager, said: “For over 10 years, the RYA Multiclass Regatta has been inspirational for many sailors, encouraging them to move onwards in the sport and achieve greater personal goals. More than simply sailing, the participants recognise the sport can be a great release offering a sense of independence, freedom and challenge and providing an ever welcome boost to wellbeing and confidence. We look forward to seeing everyone for what is always an memorable weekend of sailing and socialising.”
This weekend’s event will see sailors compete across seven different boat classes, many of which have been adapted to enable people with disabilities to compete on a level playing field, with some 65 boats expected to take to the start line.
After a training day on Friday, the Multiclass Regatta results will be based on two back-to-back races on Saturday morning and three races on Sunday, with Saturday afternoon given over to the perpetual Ken Ellis Champion of Champions pursuit race.
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 everyone of all abilities. For more information visit www.rya.org.uk/go/sailability