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Sailing in Solent

 ASTO Small Ships Race -
 Cowes - Friday
 3rd to 5th October 2008

 Event details


Participants from Dering Employment Services

 Dering Employment Services
 announces its sponsorship
 for a group of eight people
 to take part in LSP's first
 voyage on 5 - 9 May 2008

 See more about Dering

  NDCS crew competing in the Sonar race in Skandia Cowes Week 2006

“Promoting Deaf Awareness through Sailing”

Ruth Marrison of Oxford, who is deaf, will be competing in Skandia Cowes Week 2006. Her crew-members are: Katie Davison hard of hearing of Caterham, Surrey, Julia Brett hearing of Oxford and Ruth’s coach Richard Beardsley, hearing of Oxford. He has experience of working with deaf people in sailing.

NDCS's Full Crew

The four of them will be competing in the Sonar fleet after receiving financial help from ‘The National Deaf Children’s Society’.

International Sonar is sailed in 12 counties by disabled and non-disabled sailors of all abilities. They have supported the World Disabled Championships in Cardiz 1999, Sydney Paralympics 2000, World Disabled Championships in St Petersburg in 2001 and Medemblik in 2002.

Ruth said (second from the left)

‘This is all I have wanted to do is to receive sponsorship that I worked to receive. Thank you for the sponsorship from ‘The National Deaf Children’s Society. Without the sponsorship and support Cowes Week would not happened for us.'

Katie said (first from the left)

'My first experience of sailing is back in 1998, I was asked by a friend to go for a weekend trial. When we got back to dry land, I just wanted to carry on. It was then I'd found my passion. Since then I booked numerous sailing trips.

It's been my dream to be part of a crew and sail around the world... My only regret is not starting sailing when I was younger.

I was over the moon and thrilled when Ruth asked me if I would be interested in taking part in Cowes Week. My joy and my dream are coming true for me. To be able to do Cowes Week, I shall be building on that experience in the future after Cowes Week 2006.

Who knows as I maybe the first deaf woman to go solo!!!!’

Julia said – ‘I embarked on my first sailing experience in a windy, cold April, 2003, following a childhood of Arthur Ransome novels and many blustery wanderings along windswept Suffolk shorelines

I had always been fascinated with the water and had a burning desire to experience the freedom, adventure and challenge of wind and water. The thrill would strike, whether watching or reading about Yacht races of the world, or single-handed dinghy sailing, pottering about quieter waters, escaping the stresses of life, exposed to the elements. So taking these longings to sail in hand, I booked myself on a ‘learn to sail’ course. Not a particularly romantic setting but my best alternative and the largest local stretch of water, Oxford Sailing Club, Oxford. This was also the course, where I met Ruth Marrison for the first time. Ruth was a shy young person battling to ensure her disabilities did not interfere with her desire to sail. Quietly determined, Ruth used every spare moment out on the water, impressing other novices, such as myself, with her ‘rudderless sailing’ and seemingly effortless ability to ‘come along side’!

The sailing course was a wonderful and exhilarating experience. Force 6 winds offered a wet and cold exposure to sailing and occasionally scared the hell out of me. However, the excellent coaching skills enabled technique and understanding to bolster my rather naive enthusiasm. I knew I had the bug.


Since this time the pleasure of sailing has grown stronger, learning to sail has been a skill for life and one of the most enriching opportunities I have encountered. Having learned to sail in Laser Pico’s, Wayfarer’s and RS Visions, I have since helmed from Cowes to Southampton in a formula 28 and crewed on a 44ft racing yacht in the Roker Regatta, Sunderland. While still many moons away from calling myself even vaguely proficient, sailing has offered me confidence, fun, escapism, new friends and physical fitness.

After spending time watching the racing at Cowes last year, I was delighted when Ruth asked me if I would race with her at Cowes 2006. The opportunity of racing at Cowes is an ambition I have often dreamed of fulfilling. It has been exciting understanding the detail and work that goes into the organization to participate and afford to race in an event such as Cowes week. I am both excited with anticipation and trepidation about my personal ability to support Ruth and challenge my own skills in this race.’

Spinlock said - Spinlock are pleased to announce they will be supporting Ruth Marrison in her 2006 sailing campaign.

Following their success in Cowes Week 2005 it is hoped that Ruth and her crew will continue to promote deaf awareness through sailing and encourage more deaf people to undertake such s sailing. Ruth has shown that despite being profoundly deaf you can still compete at the highest level in sport. Through her determination and hard work, Ruth has secured the support necessary to race in at several regattas this year and Spinlock wish her and the team every success.

The National Deaf Children’s Society said - "The National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) is pleased to sponsor Ruth and her team of deaf sailors during Cowes Week 2006. We are obviously hoping that the crew do really well and are wishing them the best of luck! The NDCS is the only UK charity solely dedicated to the support of deaf children and young people, their families, and professionals working with them and role-models like Ruth really help raise awareness of the issues that deaf children and young people can face. Ruth and the crew really show that deafness need not be a barrier to achieving what you want in life."
Ruth and Katie will communicate with each other by sign but will communicate by lip-reading to Richard and Julia.

Their aim is to promote deaf awareness through sailing during Skandia Cowes Week 2006. Deaf awareness is. Deafness should not get in the way of deaf people doing what they want to do. Deafness is only another way of communicating, it doesn’t mean we are unable to do things.

Ruth has sailed for over 4 years under the guidance of Sail Training Principal Richard Beardsley at Oxford Sailing Club, Oxford and has also sailed in many other different places. Richard has worked with Ruth for the last 4 years. In that time he has had to learn about deaf awareness and how to communicate with deaf people.


Oxford Sailing Club is a busy club located on Farmoor Reservoir in Oxford. It has a regular programme of racing all year round. The club offers a range of RYA approved sailing, powerboat and First Aid courses (and other training by arrangement if required). We also provide boat hire facilities to members and course participants.

Ruth, Julia, Katie and Richard are still looking for sponsorship so if anyone would like to sponsor them, then e-mail Ruth on

If you would like more information then contact Oxford Sailing Club on 01865 863201 or visit the website on

  NDCS crew competing in the Sonar race in Skandia Cowes Week 2006