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News Reports and Stories - 2017

Featured on this Page:

HRH The Princess Royal rewards Northampton volunteer. Sail Training Weekend, 23rd-24th September.
Nancy Oldfield Trust Holiday, 2nd-16th September John Knight - RYA Community Award.
Summer Challenge: Report and Results UKSA Trip 7th-14th June
Saturday 3rd June. Hansa (Access) TT meeting Clr Jim Harker presents Northampton Sailability with a donation from Northamptonshire County Council.
Maiden Voyages for two new boats. Martin Gibbs
Rotary Club Swimarathon. Sailability attends Learning Disability Partnership Board Conference.
Essential Navigation and Safety Course. Rotary Club donate a new Hansa 303.
New Year Social at The George, Sat 14th January.


RYA Press Release, 29th November 2017

A Northampton sailor was rewarded for his outstanding commitment to his sport as he was presented with an RYA Volunteer Award by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, at the RYA's annual awards ceremony at One Great George Street, London on Friday (24 November).

John Knight received an RYA Lifetime Commitment Award, for individuals who have shown exceptional commitment and dedication to their club or organisation for at least 15 years, in recognition of his outstanding contribution locally, including most recently to Northampton Sailability.

The 83-year-old has been a familiar face at Pitsford Reservoir since the 60s, when, while a physics teacher in Northampton, he took over his school’s sailing club and then spent many years taking up to 20 16-18 year olds sailing every Wednesday after school.

Since retiring he has remained an active volunteer with Northampton Sailability, providing opportunities for people to disabilities to sail and sail regularly. As the group’s Bosun John maintains a fleet of 15 regularly used boats and all the safety equipment, while as a qualified Sailing Instructor he is also an invaluable source of advice on sailing technique.

John's skill in repairing boats and equipment has kept people out enjoying sailing to a degree that is very often taken for granted and he was delighted when a dedicated store room and workshop was built last year so that he could do more, but get less wet!

John said: “My reaction when I found out I had won this award was ‘What did you want to do that for, but thanks for the thought!' It’s a great honour. I looked after the school sailing club for more years than I care to remember, but I was always more of a facilitator rather than a solo sailor. I wanted others to learn and enjoy the sport. After a short rest on retirement I joined the Sailability group and most of my time is now spent keeping the fleet healthy."

The RYA is boating’s national governing body and the Volunteer Awards are considered the ‘MBEs' of the sport, honouring people throughout the UK for their outstanding contributions across all the disciplines the RYA represents, including sailing, windsurfing, powerboating, inland waterways and personal watercraft. Mr Knight’s was amongst 58 awards presented to boating’s most dedicated volunteers this year.

Mr Knight was nominated by his club and selected as a winner by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel.

Alistair Dickson, RYA Director of Sport Development, added: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of our sport. The ceremony was an excellent opportunity to celebrate the fantastic work our volunteers do to support boating activity in all forms throughout the UK. All of the stories behind these special people have been truly inspiring to hear and it’s really an honour to be able to say thank you and celebrate their amazing achievements.”

Before the awards presentation, RYA CEO, Sarah Treseder, presented Her Royal Highness with pair of marine binoculars on behalf of the RYA’s Members to mark her 30 years as President of the RYA.

For more information about the RYA Volunteer Awards or to find out how you can get out on the water in the Midlands visit www.rya.org.uk

Sail Training Weekend, 23rd-24th September.

Report by Matt Alden, Chief Sailing Instructor

The weekend's weather conditions were perfect for the Training weekend and we had eight participants attend.

It was very successful for the attending participants with them gaining the following qualifications:

Congratulations to all the above who worked really hard all weekend.Hopefully they will all continue to gain confidence in their newly acquired skills.

I would like to say a big Thank You to the Instructors that helped on the Weekend, Phil Kenny, Geoff Warren, David Hoarder, Mike Garlick, Chris Bignell, Roy Child, Andy Scudamore, Dave Allen and Bernard Blower. On safety a big Thank You to Mike Hulands and Geoff Capell.

Happy Sailing to you all!

And a big thanks to Matt for running the event.

Nancy Oldfield Trust Holiday, 2nd-16th September

Report by Roy Child.

This year our annual stay in Norfolk was later than usual in September, eleven of us enjoyed the delights of the Nancy Oldfield Trust. Organised by Emma Dakin and Chris Bignal doing the bookings and catering respectively all ran smoothly and was much enjoyed by all.

Expecting cooler , wet weather all of us took plenty of warm clothing only to be pleasantly surprised how warm and sunny it was. We did have the occasional shower, one notably at Stalham where we’d sailed to up the river from Sutton Broad and Barton Broad. A torrential downpour had us scuttling into the Museum of the Broads, flooding their café floor and taking up all the space. The lady volunteers there took pity on us and were very kind dishing out teas and coffees to all. When we left they said we’d been the highlight of their day they’d been pretty quiet all day.

We sailed in their usual collection of Yeomans, Bass boat, White boat and Randmeer with the added bonus of their new RS Venture Keel which impressed us so much last year. So much so we are actively fundraising with the help of Rotary clubs to have at least one on our fleet.

We had one day out on one of the motor cruisers, going from Luddon Bridge along the river through the picturesque Horning to Wroxham Broad.

Another day we sailed down to How Hill where there is an old reedcutters cottage preserved as a museum piece. Here we had our lunch again accompanied by a rain shower. Not too bad but with the rain the wind disappeared. We had to be towed back to the ark where we had a warming cup of tea and after the boats were put away the trip back to base.

A good time was had by all and many thanks to the staff at Nancy Oldfield for all their good work. Also many many thanks to Emma and Chris for their efforts.

Rs Venture

Emma in Bass boat on the way to the ark

Chris and Rog waiting to depart

Mick being hoisted into the Rs Venture

Rachel being hoisted into the Bass Boat with Clive helping

Rachel looking comfortable with all the beanbags

Mick sailing the Venture on Barton Broad

The 'three stooges' , Anne, Eileen and Rog on the motor cruiser

Rachel enjoying the sunshine through the open roof of the cruiser

Sailing barge looking majestic on the river

All half asleep!

Busy River Bure

Emma with instructor Mark in a Yeoman on the River Ant

Happy Chris on the way out to the ark

Eileen and Jenny with a volunteer

Jenny and Emma on the Bass Boat

Instructor Ruth 'chillin'

Eileen with volunteer on the'yellow peril'. Yeoman passing by

Chris and Mark flying spinaker on the Randmeer

Summer Challenge and Sail for Gold Regatta Awards

Summer Challenge 3rd place
Rachel and Clive

Summer Challenge 2nd place
Roy & Priscilla

Summer Challenge 1st place

Summer Challenge Special Award

Sail for Gold Regatta 3rd Place

Sail for Gold Regatta 2nd Place

Sail for Gold Regatta 1st Place

Sail for Gold Regatta Special Award

John Knight - RYA Community Award.

John Knight has been awarded an RYA Community Award (lifetime commitment) in recognition of all his hard work as Boatswain of Northampton Sailability.

Well done John and thank you for all your hard work.

Summer Challenge: Report from Mike Hulands

Friday 24th August saw 6 boats take to the water for the final two races of the Sailability Summer Challenge 2017.

Conditions were very light winds, with massive (120 degree shifts) but two races were nonetheless held.

Race 1 saw Barbara and Wilf taking first (after an excellent start) with Sam and Chris B in second and Chris Dabbs with Henry in third. Roger struggled somewhat with the almost total lack of wind and came in 6th.

Race 2 saw Roger back on form taking the win by almost a minute on corrected time with Roy (sailing single handed) taking second place and the Chris/Henry duo again taking third.

So........ Final Results

Congratulations to Roger who wins the series pushing Roy (The Admiral) back to second and Clive/Rachel taking the third spot.

I understand that The Admiral has had to make a cover plate to cover the indentation made by the cup on his mantelpiece!

Special mention is due to Sam for achieving 6th overall in his first season of racing....

Congratulations Roger. Well done Sam!. And a big thank you to Dave Mabbutt, Mike Hulands and their army of helpers for running this great series. (Ed.)


The table below and the Sailwave Results Table treat discards in different ways, and so may present different overall placings as the series progresses.

This table uses all scores until more than 10 races have been held. After that the best 10 scores from races sailed so far will be counted and the other scores discarded.

The Sailwave table progressively discards scores in proportion to the number of races held. So for example after 12 races only 5 scores count with 7 discarded, after 20 races 9 count with 11 discarded and so on.

After race 22 both tables count the best 10 scores, so the overall placings will then agree.

Overall points and placings shown below may vary from Sailwave results due to the method used for discards. Click here for information on discards.

See the full Sailwave Results Tables.

UKSA Trip 7th-14th June

Photos by Robert McIntyre

Saturday 3rd June. Hansa (Access) TT meeting

Report by Chris Dabbs

The HANSA sailors were welcomed by summer sunshine and a building breeze at Pitsford reservoir on June 3rd that allowed Northampton Sailability to run the full programme of four races on a trapezoidal course.

The morning’s light winds weren’t to everyone’s taste, but 2.3 winner Lindsay Burns made the most of the conditions. "It was very shifty and a really excellent challenge. The place to make up time was at the top of the beat as you got close to the dam as it swung around a lot. Coming from Frensham we learn to read that sort of wind, so I was able to make a lot of ground."

Tim Scarisbrick and Janet White took the double-hander honours despite have a "lousy" first two races, according to crew Janet White. "In the first race we got clouted on the line, then caught someone ourselves which meant we had to do a 360 at one of the marks. In the second race we misheard the hooter as a general recall and lost a minute or more. So we had it all to do after lunch."

But the windier conditions after the fine repast laid on by Elaine and her team, suited them and as helm Tim Scarisbrick said: "We were going like a train in the afternoon."

303 2-person helm Phillip Hall came in third and commented. "It was a good day’s racing. Apart from the last race where I came last. Thank goodness for the discard. As we were in the wake of some boats we thought we would tack off. Then when we tacked back they were miles away."

Liberty class winner Paul Phillips said: "It was a fantastic day, with perfect conditions in my opinion as it was shifty enough to keep it interesting and there was good, close racing. I was lucky enough to benefit from other sailors’ mistakes by keeping out of the tacking duels that developed and it seemed that the left side was better with the gusts lifting you."

The best-placed Northampton crew were Roy Child and Priscilla Davies, second in Class. Like eventual double-hander winners Scarisbrick and White they thought it was a General Recall in Race Two, and then seemed to be chasing Scarisbrick and White in the rest of the races. Northampton crews Chris Dabbs and Pete Windatt and Meg Elliot and Christine Allen were literally touching distance away from each other on a couple of Downwind legs and finished 4th and 5th respectively, while race novices Sam Ravenscroft and Chris Bignall weren’t far behind in 8th.

Current 2.3 champion and highly experienced HANSA sailor Lindsay Burns paid tribute to the event’s organisation: "It was a lovely day’s racing, and I want to pay tribute to the organisation on and off the water, especially the shore crews who were very efficient so cheerful too. Thank you, Northampton."

Photos by Robert McIntyre

There's plenty more photos here: Robert's Hansa TT 200+ Photo Album.

Results Summary

Hansa 2.3 Class

  • 1st Lindsay Burns (Frensham Pond)
  • 2nd Alastair Carr (Rutland)

Hansa 303 Two-Person Class

  • 1st Tim Scarisbrick & Jane Whyte (Chesil Sailability)
  • 2nd Roy Child & Priscilla Davies (Northampton Sailability)
  • Philip Hall & Dave Ankers (Chesil Sailability)

Hansa 303 One-Person Class

  • 1st Margaret Foreman (Frensham Pond)
  • 2nd Leslie Philip (Tideway)
  • 3rd Alison Grant (Frensham Pond)

Hansa Liberty Class

  • 1st Paul Phillips (Frensham Pond)
  • 2nd Pat Crowley (Rutland Sailability)
  • 3rd Chris Emmet (Rutland Sailability)

Full results for this TT round can be seen here:- Sailwave Results Tables.

Flotilla sailing in Croatia, 7th - 14th May

Photos by Robert McIntyre

Clr Jim Harker presents Northampton Sailability with a donation from Northamptonshire County Council.

Priscilla Davies, Treasurer of Northampton Sailability writes:

An old friend or ours, Clr Jim Harker, along with his wife and grandchildren, came along to Push The Boat Out Day in June last year. He had often heard me talking about Sailability at Pitsford and wanted to come along himself to see exactly what we did.

He was very impressed with our activities, so much so that a few days later he contacted me to say that he would like to nominate Northampton Sailability to be one of his two chosen charities for his year as Chairman of Northamptonshire County Council, and had we a wish list! Heads together and up came the idea of a new Bahia dinghy to replace the aging Sport 16.

Obviously I said we would be delighted to accept his kind offer and this started a whole year long series of events, many of which I was personally involved in, one of which was a meal with a difference at an Indian restaurant in Northampton attended by quite a few of our members and volunteers. Eventually a new Bahia was ordered, delivered to Pitsford and Jim and colleagues were invited to launch the boat with glasses of bubbly at the ready, followed by an excellent afternoon tea.

After much head scratching on Jim’s part, our new boat is named County Rose to reflect the County Council’s association. Jim did actually have a sail in the new boat and came back onto dry land without any mishaps!

Maiden Voyages for two new boats.

Our new Hansa 303 and Bahia have been put into service. Both were out on the water on Friday April 7th.

Emma and Henry in the Bahia

Roy and Jean in the new Hansa 303

Martin Gibbs

Sadly we have to announce that Martin Gibbs passed away on March 22nd.

His widow, Rosemary writes:

This is just to let you know that Martin died on Wednesday 22nd March at Coventry University Hospital. He had had a series of bad infections over the last two years which gradually weakened his powers of resilience. He has been in Full Time Care since Jan. 2015.

I had hoped to be able to bring him back to Sailability but he had become more anxious generally and didn’t feel he could cope.

I visited Martin regularly and I am so happy that as most of the stress was lifted we could have better times together. He felt secure and my patience and love returned more strongly.

I do thank the Club for the happy times you enabled us to have out in the open and on the water. It did seem to be the one thing that gave him a bit of his old spark of enjoyment.

Learning to sail was an experience which I treasure and I do thank you all. The tranquility of the views from the Club House was balm to my stressed state.

Thank you for everything especially the support, friendship, training and opportunity for adventure.

Special thanks to Roy and all who took Martin out for an hour or so of freedom on the water.

Best wishes, Rosemary Gibbs.

Rotary Club Swimarathon.

On Saturday 25th March a Swimarathon was organised by Northampton Rotary Clubs to raise sponsorship for both Sailability and other local charities.

Cath, Emma, Roger and Angela.

The 5th annual Rotary Swimarathon was held at Moulton College, near Brixworth.

Teams swam from 13.00 to 17.00 in 1 hour slots with approx 5 teams of 6 swimmers in each slot.

Northampton Sailability put in a team of swimmers, Angela, Emma, Cath and Roger and swam a mile in 45 minutes, raising over £1000 in individual and team sponsorship.

Great fun was had by all, swimmers and supporters.

Well done Team! - Ed

Sailability attends Learning Disability Partnership Board Conference.

Karen Cragg writes:

Richard and I are at a conference about well being for people with learning disabilities!

Sailability were asked to sign a manikin made by a group from Wellingborough that make them!

Richard was kind enough to 'model' it. Sailability signed the left part of the chest!

Report from Richard Elliott

The conferance was organised by the Northants LD partnership board to promote health and well being. It was attended by lots of people with a learning disability and their families and carers.

We were in a room with lots of stalls with different organisations about advice and support and activities. The conference sessions included a choir, dance and activity sessions for lots of sports in the sports hall.

We did not have a boat but we did have models, see the front of the photo on a map of pitsford, we had a dice game to sail round the course but most people prefered trying to fit the masts in the boats!

Everybody enjoyed the photos and we could talk about groups and individuals in the Drascombe Longboats and the 303's.

There were several interested groups and families who we encouraged to come along and have a look.

It was a great atmosphere and well worth taking part but I was aware that getting to Pitsford was quite a barrier for people from Kettering and Corby.

Thanks to Karen for her suppoort and to Meg for the map and her picture.

Essential Navigation and Safety Course.

The following students passed the course on 11th Feb and look forward to putting it into practice on the water.

The course was taught by Jenny Jeffs, John Norman and Mike Hulands as volunteer instructors.

Rotary Club donate a new Hansa 303.

The Rotary E-Club District 1070 chose the occasion of their Burns Night Charter Dinner to present Northampton Sailability with a new Hansa 303.

Pictured are Sailability Committee members with Colin Bain and Michael Potter of Rotary E-Club.

New Year Social at The George, Sat 14th January.

Lesley Mulligan reports:

The RNLI event at the George went really well yesterday with the opportunity for Northampton Sailability members to meet and greet.

I have had some great feedback to say that the food was good and people really enjoyed the event.

The bring and buy sale raised a total of £94.60 for RNLI.