DSUK crew competing in the Sonar race in Skandia Cowes Week 2008
Sailing with Sussex Yacht Club in Cowes Week 2008
In March 2008, Andrew Taylor, the organiser of Deaf Sailing UK (DSUK)
texted me on my mobile phone to see if I was keen to join the sailing
races during Cowes Week, the world’s most famous sailing regatta. It
was a rare opportunity and impossible to ignore.
Luckily Andrew had a database of people who like to sail.
He also recruited deaf people to join the sailing experience
such as Tall Ship and the Rona Sailing Project. Having
experiences like this encourages us and increases our confidence
and our ability to sail well under little or no supervision.
A great example of how this
can lead to great achievement is Gerry Hughes, a deaf sailor who sailed
for UK to America solo with help from GPS and Internet access to
communicate. Gerry still
despite the fact that his GPS and Internet access broke down due to
the engine cutting out half way.
If he managed to sail across without GPS or Internet Access, then we,
deaf people, can do the same, providing we have the similar experience
and knowledge about sailing.
As part of the team Andrew included Sussex
Sailability who encouraged disabled sailors to get involved in the race.
We used the yacht, Sonar, which holds up to five people. Before the races,
in Cowes Week, I was asked to join the training with the team.
This was important as we were given the opportunity to learn about our
weakness and our strengths as a team. During my training, there was no
wind and we did not sail very much but we did get to
know what we could and could not do in the yacht.
I was selected in the last three days of the race in Cowes. The
opportunity to get involved in the races was a wonderful experience
for me. There were many who were very enthusiastic and there were also
some serious sailors who wanted to win the races badly! During the
last day of the sailing, we started very badly
at the starting point, so we needed to push the yacht back
into the race. Unfortunately the boom mast broke in half
and with much disappointment we had to retire from the race.
This was our first real taste of racing with others. We did
have a great experience and great fun.
Thanks to Andrew Taylor of DSUK and also thanks to Sussex
Yacht Club for their yacht, Sonar.
I am hoping to do more training and races next year! DSUK is
looking for some fund raising and sponsorship to help with
the cost of training and races, please get in touch with
DSUK for next years’ race.
First timer of Cowes Week 2008!
DSUK is pleased to announce that there will be a dinner
fundraising event at Sussex Yacht Club on Saturday 25th October
so please contact Shauna Taylor, the event organiser, on
firstname.lastname@example.org for the £20 tickets. Some guest
speakers, including Oliver Westbury, the first deaf person
to reach the true North Pole, will give a talk about their
experience or achievements.
In addition, DSUK would be most interested to hear if you
have raced in any racing event in the past in the UK, or
you plan to enter your boat of any class in any future racing
event in the Solent or elsewhere. We are envisaging some
plans for our racing training or programme.