About to set sail!
Since officially announcing The South Coast Campaign sponsored by GJW Direct - it has been full steam ahead here in our base in Scotland to get organised and also tick off a few events in home waters before making our way down to the Solent. We have already had a number of emails and phone calls from people based on the south coast enquiring about our campaign and we look forward to opening up booking forms for people with autism and their families to sign up for free sailing trips with us. Please keep an eye on our Facebook page and Website for this information when it is available.
Our first racing event of the year of our Hunter 707 was the Kip Regatta which was sponsored for us by David Sturrock Yachting. We also brought our cruiser Confidence with us to provide our volunteer crew members with accommodation.
It was a great weekend of racing and we were joined by crew members who will be playing a part in the South Coast Campaign such as Eddie and Wells who will be sailing in the Round the Island Race and long time crewmember Claire who will be with us at Cowes Week. Team AOTW finished 7th out of 8 Hunter 707s overall which was a disappointment but also we were very pleased with the performance of the boat, especially in the final race where we were winning but unfortunately lost places on the final lap in a dying wind but that is just racing and the team had great fund as well as promoting awareness of our cause!
Following the Kip Regatta, we were back out on board Confidence from our base at Rhu Marina providing a free sailing trip to young local people from the Helensburgh and Kilcreggan area - this was a replacement event following the postponement of our Crinan Canal event. 4 people with autism and a parent or carer enjoyed a lovely trip around the Sugarship on the East Patch water of the Clyde and returned back to Rhu Marina via the Gareloch. Each young person had a chance to steer the boat and also learn how to use our navigation equipment to plot a safe passage. Confidence has brought AOTW so much happiness and we are just thrilled to pass on that happiness to people with autism who step on board. A big thank you to volunteers Kirsty, Colin, Claire and Kay for their help on the day.
A special video wrap up of the day can be seen by clicking the link below.
Next up for the race team was the Tarbert Regatta sponsored for us by The Corner House in Tarbert. This event was a replacement event following the cancellation of the Scottish Series. It is a credit to the competitors that they worked with the organising authorities to bring together an event that people would enjoy. A big thank you to 707 class chairman Mark Robertson who worked so hard behind the scenes to help save the event.
The weather was truly glorious and we were delighted to welcome on board new team member Sophie who travelled all the way from Cowes, especially for this event. From a results point of view, the regatta was disappointing as we had to contend with various breakages, shifty winds etc. but the team had a great time, we love our brand new set of sails which were generously gifted to us by a long time supporter of the charity and it was wonderful to once again have Confidence moored in Tarbert for crew accommodation and also was berthed right in the centre of the marina which allowed members of the public to visit the boat and hear more about our organisation. A big thank you to our amazing crew of volunteers who sailed so well throughout the event. This was the last event in Scotland for our race team and our next event will be from the South Coast itself!
Following the completion of the Tarbert Regatta, Confidence made the short journey back to the Clyde and into Kip Marina and was lifted out of the water for a short overhaul and a final check of all systems as this Sunday the 12th of June she will be leaving Scotland and being transported by sea to the South Coast to Universal Marina on the River Hamble. The delivery crew are estimating a 7-day voyage at the most and we wish them a very safe journey south and for good wind and tide. A big thank you to Kip Marina who managed to fit us in for a lift out during a very busy time for them.
Our Hunter 707 meanwhile is being transported back to Edinburgh by road where supporter Eddie will undergo some servicing to the boat before starting the journey south down the motorway to Universal Marina and the official start of the South Coast Campaign. We are so excited to get south and begin an exciting new chapter for the charity to work further with our sponsors GJW Direct and share our work here in Scotland with others in the south!