Deaf Sailing UK crew competing in the
Sonar race in Skandia Cowes Week 2006
"DSUK feel the sailing buzz at Cowes"
The world-famous Cowes Week celebrated its 180th anniversary in 2006. The Isle
of Wight-based regatta saw thousands of racing yachts and dinghies battling it
out across 42 different classes.
With only one single practice and try-out session behind them, DSUK, sailing on
“Josh”, finished a commendable 13th in the Sonar class.
“Josh”, the first Sonar boat to be imported from the USA, was lent by Sussex
Sailability and raced for an average of four hours each day.
On these race days, DSUK had just 10 minutes to work out their race course for
their class. Immediately, the crew had the tricky task of steering “Josh” on a
path through hundreds of boats to the start line – before another ten minutes
All of DSUK were fully aware of the time signals, thanks to a wonderful Cowes tradition.
At this historic regatta, the start gun is actually a cannon fired by the Royal Yacht
With guns fired every ten minutes to announce the start of a class race, DSUK had to
ignore the distraction and concentrate on their own challenge. Being in the right
position to get wind advantage was important – just as was keeping an eye out for
other Sonar boats in their class.
From the first day, DSUK started a friendly rivalry with “Winconsin”, an NDCS sponsored
boat in the same class, which eventually finished 17th out of the 19 boats racing.
“It was a huge learning curve for all of us”, commented DSUK team member Jason Drobig,
“but a fantastic experience – the buzz was just electrifying”.
DSUK Committee Member