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News Reports and Stories - 2015

Featured on this Page:

New Safety Boat Drivers. Changes to our Leadership.
A Nice "Thankyou". Sail Training Weekend 19th-20th September.
Instructor Qualification Successes. Sail for Gold Regatta & BBQ, Saturday 29th August.
Presentation of Paul Harris Fellowship Award to Jenny Jeffs. Summer Challenge: Final Results.
Power Boat Level 2 course successes. Hansa/Access TT Round - Report.
Northampton Sailability hosts a Sportability members' day, 4th July 2015. Geoff Warren gains keelboat Senior Instructor qualification.
Nancy Oldfield Tust, Norfolk holiday 16th to the 26th June 2015. Rosie Ford gains Bronze Award.
My yacht trip – UKSA from Cowes to Plymouth, 19th - 28th May. Drascombe Rally, 27th - 28th May.
Spinnaker Training Sessions. New Year Social at The George, Brixworth, Sat 17th January.

New Safety Boat Drivers

Phil and Geoff

Lesley, Sarah, Bernard and Mike

Well done to successful Safety Boat candidates Bernard Blower, Mike Hulands, Lesley Mulligan, Sarah Wrench.

This course was run jointly by Phil Kenny & Geoff Warren, assisted by Matt Alden & Dave Allen.

Changes to our Leadership

RYA Inspection & Change of Chief Officers

Northampton Sailability is a RYA Recognised Training Centre (RTC), this recognition means that we can provide RYA courses and issue RYA qualifications.

We received our annual RYA inspection on the 28th September 2015. The Inspector was very impressed with our procedures and the dedication and enthusiasm of our members. He also commented that our sailing and activities programme was one of the best he had seen.

This accolade is very much down to the hard work and efforts of our retiring RTC Principal Jenny Jeffs, plus our Senior Instructors and volunteers, well done to you all.

I am sure you will all join me in thanking Jenny for her hard work and dedication and wish her a happy retirement. Jenny will I am pleased to say still be with us in her role as Senior Instructor and First Aid Trainer.

We have had a re-organisation of roles to ensure a smooth succession in our Instructor team, these changes are :-

"Jenny has given me a tough act to follow, hopefully I shall be a safe pair of hands. We are a good team at Sailability and I am sure that you will all give support to the new Chief Officers to ensure that we continue to provide safe but adventurous sailing."
Geoff Warren, RTC Principal

A Nice "Thankyou"

The group sailing season for 2015 is now over, so all the Longboat skippers can put their feet up!!!

Your efforts together with all the Access instructors are greatly appreciated by the various groups that use our services.

The group from Daventry and South Northants Community Opportunities have made us a "Thankyou Card" which is a very thoughtful and welcome touch.

Sail Training Weekend 19th-20th September

Report by Matt Alden

Saturday was quite a challenging day as there was virtually no wind for sailing so we took the opportunity to do quite a lot of the theory training needed.

Thankfully later in the day a light breeze gave us the chance to get on the water and practice some of the skills.

Sunday gave us F1-2 so everyone took to the water and managed a full day of training.

Over the weekend there was great enthusiasm by all and the following levels were achieved:

Lesley Mulligan and Rachel Scott managed to get a lot of their workbook signed off towards the end goal of achieving their Assistant Instructor qualification. I am sure it won't be too long before we have 2 new Assistant Instructors on the team.

Many thanks to all the Instructors who took part over the weekend, Emma, Andy, David.H, Mike.H, Richard.E, Mike.G, Phil and Dave.A and Roy.

Congratulations to all award winners, and many thanks for Matt & his helpers for a great weekend.

Instructor Qualification Successes

Congratulations to Geoff Warren and Matt Alden who have both recently gained their Senior Instructor qualifications.

And also to Michelle who has become an Assistant instructor after tuition from Richard.

Matt & Geoff with their certificates

Richard presents Michelle with her award.

Well done to all three of you.

Sail for Gold Regatta & BBQ, Saturday 29th August

Ability once again proved to have no boundaries as Northampton Sailability hosted its fifth annual Sail 4 Gold Regatta at Pitsford Reservoir.>

More than 20 sailors, both those with disabilities and able-bodied, in 14 boats took to the water for what has become a popular mainstay on the Northampton Sailability calendar since it was first run in celebration of the forthcoming London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2011.

Some 200 people of all ages and across the whole spectrum of physical and learning disabilities regularly sail with Northampton Sailability, as part of RYA Sailability, the national programme run by sailing’s national governing body encouraging and supporting people with a wide and diverse range of abilities to get into sailing.

The Sail for Gold Regatta traditionally marks the end of the Northampton Sailability racing season and gives the group’s dedicated volunteers the chance to break their boats out and engage in some competitive racing with the sailors with disabilities that they tirelessly support throughout the summer.

Allan Henson, who first introduced the Sail for Gold Regatta to Northampton Sailability, once again took the friendly bragging rights with overall victory, while the group’s chairman Roy Child, sailing with treasurer Priscilla Davies, finished second.

Roy said: “When we devised the event we wanted to make sure that everyone could participate whatever their ability. For example, we deliberately chose to have short races so that those with limited stamina could enter".

“We also agreed that our success criteria, apart from great feedback of course, would be seeing members and helpers in podium positions. I’m thrilled to say we have achieved both every year so I guess we have got the formula right.”

Sailing is one of the most inclusive sports around, as once on the water everybody competes on a level playing field. Through RYA Sailability over 53,000 young people and adults with disabilities are introduced to sailing each year, and many go on to sail on a regular basis.

Northampton Sailability is a recognised RYA Training Centre meaning it conforms to the highest standards of quality and safety. For more information about RYA Sailability visit www.rya.org.uk/sailability

Presentation of Paul Harris Fellowship Award to Jenny Jeffs.

On Monday 29th June, Jenny Jeffs was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship by The Rotary Club of Northampton West. These awards are given in recognition of an individual’s outstanding contribution to the community.

The presentation was made by Allan Wilson, President of the Rotary Club of Northampton West.

Rotary in Britain and Ireland has an established national connection with Sailability. Local clubs help provide many of the specialist boats and the hoists that are essential in the daily activities of Sailability.

Jenny has been instrumental in the training of instructors, including Rotarians drawn from a number of clubs in the county. The training includes working with people who have various forms of disability. Thanks to Jenny’s generosity in freely giving her time and skills, Northampton Sailability has become and remains very successful and provides the opportunity for sailing to people with a wide range of disabilities.

Congratulations Jenny, and very well deserved!

Summer Challenge: Final Results

Another Summer Challenge series is over!

Congratulations to Roy and Priscilla/Meg as crew on just sneaking up the table over the last four races to beat Barbara and Wilf/Henry/Karen by just one point.

Commiserations must go Barbara who failed a late fitness test and was unable to compete in the final two races, otherwise who knows what the outcome woud have been!

Many thanks to Dave Mabbut, Mike Hulands and all the other helpers for running another great series.

See the full Sailwave Results Tables.

Power Boat Level 2 course successes

Congratulations to Bernard Blower, Lesley Mulligan and Andy Seymour.

On the recent Power Boat Level 2 course, run on the 22nd & 23rd of July by Geoff Warren, the three candidates succeeded in becoming qualified power boat drivers.

Well done to all three and many thanks to Geoff for organising this to help keep our operation running smoothly.

Hansa/Access TT Round - Report by Chris Dabs. Pictures by Rob Jackson.

Northampton Sailability hosted a Hansa TT round at Pitsford reservoir on June 27th which was blessed with great sailing conditions instead of the flat calm of recent years.

The 15-boat fleet sailed two different courses over the course of the single-day event and Frensham crews took top spot in all the classes: 303 double-hander, 303 solo and Liberty.

Andy and Ced Sheath took a clean-sweep in the 303 Double-Hander class. “When I saw Northampton Sailability’s Roy Child was entered, I thought ‘Oh dear’, but it went my way, although the third race was close.” Said Andy.

Tessa Watkiss loved the great racing conditions with variable winds and a few gusts and dominated the 303 singles. Her only secret? “Moving around in the boat is tricky for me so I watch the telltales all the time with extra ones further back on the jib.” She said. Paul Phillips in the Libertys had three firsts and a second to head his class. “In the second race I tacked too soon on the line and got edged out. But if you lose a position because of one mistake that shows you that the racing is good.”

Paul has got limited hand function so he switched from a 303 to his own Liberty after he fell out of a 303 twice and got tangled up. The self-tacking jib on the Liberty allows him to concentrate on setting the main sail when tacking up from the leeward mark.

But it was the jib strut on his liberty that did for one of Paul’s closest rivals in the championship, Melvin Kinnear from Tideway who leads the Liberty class overall. ”It all came down to the last race after two useless starts , then the jib strut came loose so I drifted out of contention.” Explained Paul.

However his fellow Tideway sailor in the single-handed 303s had more success. Les Phillips has been sailing since childhood in Grenada and did enough finishing third overall to keep his class lead in the series.

See lots more pictures in the TT Gallery  

Northampton Sailability hosts a Sportability members' day, 4th July 2015

On Saturday 4th July several members of Sportability visited us for a day to try out sailing.

Sportability has as its mission statement "Sportability brings sport and challenging pursuits to people with paralysis. Our aim is to take the ‘dis’ out of disability and focus on ability."

The day was greatly enjoyed by all who participated. One member wrote:

Tim enjoyed the experience of sailing very much on Saturday. He had never done it before and so was anxious but, once again, Sportability has proved that trying new things pays off.
He is certainly gaining confidence through these experiences which is great because the very limiting nature of his brand of HSP has meant that his life has been a series of knocks to his confidence. He didn't feel able to have a go at sailing the boat himself this time but, maybe one day.
The members of Pitsford Sailability were fantastic and very welcoming. They worked so hard and couldn't do enough to make the whole day special for everyone.
Thank you all, yet again! Best wishes, Hilary (Tim's mum)

Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped make this day a success.

Geoff Warren gains keelboat Senior Instructor qualification

The SI Keelboat Instructors Course was run by the East Anglian Sailing Trust on the river Orwell in Suffolk on 30th June -3rd July 2015

All ten candidates were successful.

Congratulation to Geoff and the other candidates

Northampton Sailability are visiting E.A.S.T. to sail Squibs on the 11th July.

Volunteers needed! A return visit by E.A.S.T to Pitsford has been arranged for Saturday 1st August. Volunteers would be appreciated for this

Nancy Oldfield Tust, Norfolk holiday 16th to the 26th June 2015. Report by Roy Child.

This year's Norfolk holiday was attended by fourteen of our members at various times, staying in the Nancy Oldfield Centre’s bungalow.

Sailing their fleet of Yeomans, Bass boat, Randmeer and Norfolk White boat gave us the wonderful experience of sailing on the Norfolk Broads and watching the varied wildlife.

The food was ably provided by Priscilla who did the shopping in advance and the cooking, some of us also provided meals to help out.

The weather was very kind to us and we managed to sail out on Barton Broad and adjoining rivers every day bar one afternoon. That day we’d been out sailing Yeoman keelboats in the morning only to get caught in a torrential cloudburst, rain and hail. Very wet we went back to the floating base (called the Ark) for lunch and dry off. Some were so wet that they went back to the bungalow for a change of clothes. That afternoon we all went down the river towards Acle in one of the Centre's motor cruisers.

Various trips along the rivers tested our skills of river sailing especially when the winds were light. Not too many excursions into the trees and reeds occurred but very funny when they did. One especially long trip to Sutton Staithe took all day, managing to get to the staithe for lunch.

A very relaxing and enjoyable time was had by all and a big thank you must go to all the volunteers at the Nancy Oldfield. Also to the spotless condition of the newly refurbished bungalow, more refurbishment had taken place since our last visit.

Many thanks to Roy, Priscilla and all their helpers for another well organized trip

Rosie Ford gains Bronze Award

Congratulations to Rosie Ford who, after 8 sessions on the water in a Hansa Access 303 Dinghy, achieved the RYA Bronze award.

Rosie attends Northampton Sailability with a group from Freedom Support, Market Harborough, who all enjoy their sailing and gaining RYA awards.

The certificate and badge were presented to her by Allan Henson (Senior Instructor)

Well done Rosie, now you can aim for the Silver award.

My yacht trip – UKSA from Cowes to Plymouth, 19th - 28th May. Report by Meg Elliott

Northampton Sailability chartered a yacht from UKSA at Cowes and they sailed it to Plymouth. Phil Kenny was the skipper and Mike Hulands was the first mate, Priscilla, Roy and Roger were also part of the crew. Their long voyage also included night sailing, with taking watches every four hours and a tricky moment with passing a craft by Portland Bill.

Unfortunately, the boat engine needed repair at Dartmouth harbour and they were stranded there for two days. Meg, Christine and Jenny drove down to join them and were disappointed not to sail, but were pleased at being invited to participate in the open day at Dart Sailability.

We hope to set up a link with Dart Sailability and to find out more about them: www.dartmouthsailability.org

They all took a ferry across the harbour and Roger signed them up for rides in the Dart 15 boat and Dart Sailability were very impressed at how good they were at sailing. Afterwards, we got an ice cream and the good news that our boat Avocet had been repaired. We had to fill her up with petrol from a floating vessel, because the engine damage had used a lot of petrol.

Meg and Christine had their first taste of yacht sailing, but the wind and tide were against us to Plymouth harbour and this made sailing hard work, so we had to use the motor. When we used the motor everyone felt sea sick and it was hard to walk straight. Meg and Christine both helmed and Phil said that they were naturals, because of being dinghy sailors. There was a sea lock at Plymouth marina and we had to brave being bashed into by fishing boats.

On our last evening, we had a beautiful walk to the pub and saw the sun setting over the marina. Finally, we drove home and the rest of the crew began their long voyage back to Cowes.

Drascombe Rally, 27th - 28th May

Some pictures from the recent Drascombe Association rally, a popular annual event at Pitsford.

Spinnaker Training Sessions

On 15th and 22nd May Spinnaker Training was delivered by David And Matt in Laser Bahia, Sport 16 and Martin 16.

It was all rather too busy to take a lot of photos. With so many potential attendees on away on flotilla/UKSA a select group consisting of Emma, Gill, Henry and Shavaun, benefited from the activities on offer.

Shortage of volunteers for the groups meant that there was some dipping in and out of the course.

On day two, Shavaun and David pitched in to drive a 303 and a Longboat to make sure groups were catered for while Matt kept things ticking over.

In the pictures Gill receives spinnaker instruction from Matt - Hoist, fly, gybe and drop.

Course leader David Harris was pleased to note that dry spinnakers were being packed away at the end of the activity. Congratulations to all who took part.

Many thanks to David Harris and Matt Alden for running these valuable sessions.

New Year Social at The George, Brixworth, Sat 17th January.

The New Year Social at The George was a great chance to chat and catch up over lunch.

£184 was raised for RNLI from the bring and buy sale which is a fantastic effort. (A 50% increase on last year's total).

Many thanks to Christine Allen for organising the event and sorting out a very good menu at the pub.