Woolverstone Challenge Cup

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The Seamark Nunn Woolverstone Challenge Cup is an unique new inter-club event for east coast sailing clubs. THe event took place on Saturday May 9th and was organised by the Woolverstone Project (www.woolverstoneproject.org.uk) – an RYA Sailability and Training Centre based at Alton Water and at Woolverstone on the River Orwell.

East coast clubs were invited to send two adults and one cadet to represent the club and the Woolverstone Project provided the boats. This created a completely level playing field as the boats provided were Access 3.03s for the adults and 2.3s for the cadets. These boats are sailed y crews seated facing forward using joystick style steering. The daggerboard keels weigh 30kg making the boats very stable ensureing that people with disabilities can participate without handicap. None of the competing able-bodied sailors had sailed these boats before and one of the aims of the event was to give them an opportunity to experience this type of craft. To level the playing field further Kemp Sails had donated new sails for each boat which were being used for the first time.

On the day the weather was ominous with grey clouds and a strong breeze. The first event begain slightly behind schedule due to the conditions. The adults managed one race but the cadets struggled as a 32 knot squall swept through th fleet. A postponement for 45 minutes saw all sailors returning to the shore.

Twelve clubs were entered and with a fleet of nine boats, each club had one bye from the four races planned. So, following the postponement, the second race started with three new crews who hadn’t yet sailed and six of the crews from the previous race. The wind remained gusty with some further, though less violent squalls and while the first three adult races were run, the cadet postponement continued. Eventually, with a more consistent breeze, the cadet fleet went out as well and managed one race.
The original plan had been for a final medal race for the top eight clubs who would race against the Woolverstone Project Patron – Paul Heiney , and Kevin Curtis – a Paralympic gold medallist from the 1996 Atlanta games.  Time constraints meant that this final race did not occur, but Paul Heiney presented the prizes to the winning teams including Sam Rowell and Andy Robinson who represeted Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club.
Adult fleet

Position

Club

Sailors

Points

1

Waldringfield SC Chris Fish & Bob Whitehouse

4

2

Orwell YC Adam Fuller &  Cameron Harris

6

3

Felixstowe Ferry SC Sam Rowell & Andy Robinson

10

4=

Tollesbury SC Greg Bartlett & George Rogers

11

4=

Walton & Frinton YC Charles Penfold & Martin Jenkins

11

6

Slaughden SC David Pegg & Will Webb

14

 

Cadet Fleet

Position

Club

Sailors

Points

1

Slaughden SC Finnian Anderson

4

2

Royal Harwich YC Harry Wallhead

6

 

The success of the event was in no small part due to generosity of sponsors. These included Kemp Sails, RS Sailing, All Clear Insurance, Harwich Haven Authority and various local Suffolk Rotary Clubs. Raffle prizes were provided by Fox’s Chandlery and Adnams and the trophy was sponsored by Seamark Nunn. Thanks to all these contributions and the generosity of the clubs entering, the project received a welcome boost in their fund-raising drive for a Wheelyboat to enable a wider range of disabled people to get on the water.

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