Saturday 17 June 2017 saw the culmination of 06 weeks of sailing activities with the Essex 'Workplace Challenge' Sailing Regatta at Brightlingsea Sailing Club. The sessions were set up and funded through a link between Active Essex and the Royal Yachting Association as part of the National Workplace Challenge initiative which aims to engage workplaces in sport and physical activity. During April and May, adult novices from a variety of workplaces were taught to sail Toppers on the lake up to the level of being able to race a triangular course in a regatta. On Regatta Day, competitors took part in a round-robin series of races in Topaz single-handers in very challenging conditions, ranging from no wind to a force 4 sea breeze. With learn-to-sail sessions taking place at both Brightlingsea in Colchester and Blackwater Sailing Club in Heybridge, the Regatta proved a true test of skills, and ultimately Team Blackwater proved unbeatable and took the first two steps on the podium. Congratulations to the overall winner Aleutia House and to second placed Tash Kershaw, both from the Mid Essex Hospitals Trust.

Nigel from Blackwater said "Craig and his team at Brightlingsea laid on a great day for the Regatta, with challenging conditions due to the variable winds. Despite this, they kept the races going and allowed the teams to demonstrate their new sailing skills. The Blackwater team faced challenges not found on our training lake, like tide, large navigation marks and posts, and commercial traffic. With a few notable exceptions they dealt with these and had a fun and enjoyable time and made us proud when they managed to claim the top two steps of the podium."

With plenty of talk of competitors continuing sailing, it is hoped many of the participants will take up sailing as a life-long hobby.

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