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News Reports and Stories - 2016

Featured on this Page:

Pictures from Plas Menai trip, October 28th-30th Rachel Morris wins paralympic Gold -- again!
Sailability Sail For Gold Regatta & BBQ Summer Challenge Final Results
Christopher Davis Yachting at UKSA, Isle of Wight, May 23rd - 29th 2016.
Special Olympics Report – June 2016 Visit to the East Anglia Sailing Trust (EAST) Sat 25th June.
Hansa (Access) National TT Northampton round, Sat 18th June Sailability Open Day, Sat 4th June
RYA Sailability Award successes Day Skipper and Yachtmaster Theory - Course successes
New Year Social at The George, Brixworth, Sat 16th January.

Pictures from Plas Menai trip, October 28th-30th

Nine members and volunteers from Northampton Sailability enjoyed a weekend's sailing in the beautiful Menai Straits based at Plas Menai National outdoor centre.

This year we experienced lighter winds, no more than 12 knots, but this permitted sailors to enjoy sailing in the RS Venture dinghies using spinnakers.

We also sailed in 2 of the Centre's J80 keelboats and were able to do a day sail up to Port Dinorwic and back.

The Centre is very well equipped and provides good food and accommodation. All our sailors had a good experience and fully enjoyed the weekend.

Come and have a go next year, an experience not to be missed.

Geoff Warren, Principal.

Rachel Morris wins paralympic Gold -- again!

Rachel with her Beijing Gold Medal.

Congratulations to Rachel on another fine achievement in winning the Gold Medal in the arms-shoulders women’s single sculls in the Rio paralympics.

Some of the longer serving members of Northampton Sailability will remember Rachel, who was a member up to 2005 or thereabouts.

She regularly sailed an Access and graduated to a Martin 16 with her close friend Eddie Pickering, one of our founder members and a major fund raiser. (sadly Eddie passed away in 2012. Obituary)

With her own boat Rachel went on to win several prestigeous national and international sailing events.

Rachel and Eddie in Martin 16 111 at the inaugural National Championships, 2004

She then enjoyed a successful paralympic career as a hand-cyclist, winning time trial gold at Beijing 2008 and a bronze medal in the road race at London 2012.

In 2013 it seems that the attraction of water became too strong and Rachel transferred to rowing in the arms-shoulders women’s single scull with the Guldford RC...

...AND qualified for the Rio paralympics ...AND won another gold!

Well done Rachel. Your determination to succeed despite the difficulties is an inspiration to us all.

Learn more about Rachel by visiting her website rachel-morris.com

Sailability Sail For Gold Regatta & BBQ


Access 303LesleyMike H1
Access 303RoyDoris2
SoloAllan H3
SoloRob J5
Access 303JeanSue6
Sport 16RobertChristine9
Martin 16Mick BMike G10

The annual Sailability “Sail for Gold” event was held on Saturday 27th August.

Ten boats entered the racing, but unfortunately the weather was not so kind as the previous day!

Race 1 started on time at 1400 in very variable winds – prior to the start the wind had been fairly steady easterly at 10 to 15 knots, but just as the start hooter sounded a rain shower came over and the wind dropped to virtually dead calm. Allan Henson showed the way managing to catch a little wind at the ‘pin end’ and managed to creep over the line and set course for the first mark on a port tack. Fortunately a minute or so later the wind returned and all were able to get racing. The wind continued to build throughout the race, accompanied by rain showers, which saw Matt inspecting the centreboard of the Solo after an impressive capsize on the run.

Lesley and yours truly also managed a fairly good start putting us in front of the Access fleet on the first leg. Despite best efforts, Roy and Priscilla could not close this gap and we managed to cross the finish line a full minute in front of them.

Shortly after the end of the first race a thunderstorm started in the area so all further racing was postponed.

After a break ashore, conditions appeared to improve so the Race Officer set-up for a second race at 1600.

Almost in a replay of race one, just after the start hooter sounded the rain started and the wind dropped to almost zero, leaving the bulk of the fleet becalmed (and wet) on the start line.

Shortly after this the wind suddenly veered 180 degrees leaving most boats on a dead run to the first mark. Then...... the squall hit.... very heavy rain and strong winds (noted on the weather station as 27.3 knots). This was accompanied shortly after by thunder and lightning – so the race was quickly abandoned.

Meg and Rob took a swim in the very strong winds. As a first, Meg was rescued by the Long boat and after a short while all entrants and boats were safely ashore and trying to dry off.

Thanks are due to the rescue teams for quickly dealing with the situation and ensuring everyone’s safety.

So after all that the day had to be decided on the first (only) race.

Despite completing three laps to the Access’s two, the PY of the Solo pushed Allan into third, with Roy and Doris in second leaving Lesley and yours truly taking the win!

Summer Challenge Final Results

Report from Mike Hulands, Friday 26th August:

Friday 26th August saw the last two races of this year’s Sailability Summer Challenge. The weather graced the racers with near perfect conditions, fair breeze and clear blue skies.

Seven boats took to the water – 5 Access 303, Mick in the Martin 16 and Matt giving Dave Mabbutt’ Solo a spin.

Despite the punishing PY (handicap), Matt did very well to win overall in the first race, pushing Barbara into 2nd and Roy back to third.

In the second race the Admiral (Roy) and Priscilla (AKA Doris) were back on form taking the win.

So final results – CONGRATULATIONS (again) to Roy and Priscilla the overall winners of the Series – Roy has now won the series 6 times since 2008. The cup is wearing a ring on the top of his mantelpiece.

Second and Third places required some discussion with the “Race Committee”!! Both Clive and Rachel and Barbara, (with crews of Henry, Wilf and Gabrielle), achieved – 3 first places and 7 second places throughout the series – so with 10 races to count they have equal scores.

There are ways of breaking a tie within the ISAF sailing rules but the “Committee” also took into account the fact that Clive and Rachel were the only members who sailed every race held... So Clive and Rachel take 2nd and Barbara third – congratulations to both.

See the full Sailwave Results Tables.


The table above 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.

Click here for information on discards.

Christopher Davis

Sadly we have to announce that Chris Davis passed away on August 17th.

His partner, Diana Sharville, writes:

It is with great sorrow that I have to tell you that my beloved Chris died on Wednesday at Leicester General. He has been very ill with frequent hospital visits most of this year.

Will you please let people at Sailability know, especially those who taught him to sail when he was fit enough, took him to Plas Menai, the Greek flotilla holiday and the Firefighters Challenge, and those who took him out as a passenger last year on our infrequent visits.

I am writing part of the tribute that will be read at his funeral and will mention the huge sense of accomplishment he gained from Sailability.

The funeral will be at 10:00 am on Tuesday 30th August at Kettering Crematorium, Rothwell Road NN16 8XE.


Meg Elliott

Yachting at UKSA, Isle of Wight, May 23rd - 29th 2016. Report by Meg Elliott.

I went on the annual UKSA yacht trip this year organised by Phil Kenny. The yacht Falcon, a 45 foot Elan, was kindly provided free of charge from the UKSA.

There were seven of us in total and we went to Cowes in two separate cars, meeting at the ferry along the way. There was; Meg Elliott, Roger Bastow, Roy Child, Mike Hulands, Robert McIntyre and Cath and Phil Kenny.

It was a blazing hot day and the wind was light, so once we had stowed our kit away we motored out of the harbour and across the Solent to The Hamble river Estuary.

The next day the weather was perfect for yachting, so after a brief visit to Cowes for more equipment we sailed all the way to Poole, only using the engine to cut across the tidal flow by the Isle of Wight. The weather was so good that we looked for a spinnaker, but found we only had a jib. The second baton of the main sail was catching on the mast, so we had to sail with a small reef.

Once we were in Poole we met up with Jo Kenny, who came to meet us on her bike and we ate tea.

Later in the evening Phil Kenny was hoisted up the mast and he fixed the baton problem by oiling the offending bit of metal.

The wheelchairs were unloaded from several different places in the boat, some of the wheels were in the spare shower, the frames in the sail hold and foot plates in Roy's cabin. So that physically disabled sailors were all able to use the shower and toilet facilities.

We left at 8am the next morning to catch the tide, Poole harbour was very busy with boats creating lots of wash. I was sleeping in the bow of the boat and was woken by two massive crashes with water seeping through my port hole. I thought that I was on the ship Titanic and we had hit an iceberg. I was frightened and I pulled on clothes and ran out on deck, the helmsman Robert told me that the front of the boat had been totally submerged by a big wave. After being told that story, I thought about what an exciting yacht trip we were on.

We sailed nearly all the way to Lymington, just needed to motor past The Needles area of Isle of white, because it has strong tidal currents.

The next day we sailed into The Hamble harbour and the wind was in a perfect direction for us to sail on a run to meet Jenny's boat. Phil sat with his foot on the jib sheet acting as a human jib stick. Jenny Jeffs had been on a trip in her boat Grace with other Sailability Volunteers.

I had a very nice adventure and I had the best sailing weather for three years. It was a cheap holiday where I learnt a lot towards the Day skipper course.

Many thanks to Phil and Cath Kenny for organising this trip, and to the UKSA for providing the boat free of charge. - Ed

Some more pictures of the trip.

Special Olympics Report – June 2016

Special Olympics GB is part of an international organisation that supports international competition for people with Intellectual disabilities. They use this word instead of learning disability or learning difficulty as we use in Britain. Sadly these disabilities have been withdrawn from the para-olympics, but competitors have an opportunity to compete locally in their region, nationally and internationally. The aim of Special Olympics is to promote the benefits of physical activity, competition and to have fun.

Northamptonshire Sport is developing a Special Olympics program as part of the wider program for East Midlands. There is a wide variety of sports clubs signed up; including gym, tennis, golf and Northampton Sailability. The launch will be held on Sunday 4th September at Moulton College, when you can sign up for the different clubs and even try out some of the sports, but I am unsure if we can bring an Access dinghy there but hope our members can turn up to support the event.

Northampton Sailability has run a Special Olympics taster course, and this will help us plan how we can develop a team. We have used the Special Olympic sailing coach guidelines to design the format of our course. There were four sessions, we started with a physical warm up, doing stretches and marching on the spot was led by Karen. Afterwards, she did land exercises on points of sailing, tacking and gybing and port and starboard rules of the water.

For more information on the Special Olympics Sailing scheme see the Sailing Special Olympics Coaching Guide (pdf format).

Race Report - Regatta 24th June

We went onto the water to learn how to start a race and in particular how to slow or to stop on the line and go off again. We developed through practise races, follow my leader and doing slalom with four boats going up and then back to the windward mark.

We had six Access dinghies with two competitors sailing single handed and four out with a coach, who could advise and do the jib sheets or they could do jib and main sheets with the competitor steering the joystick. We were pleased to see all of the participants having fun and increase their skills and confidence. The race training helped them achieve the skills required for the RYA Certificate of Achievement scheme at Gold or Platinum level.

We ended our course of taster sessions with a grand regatta of two races and a duck race finale. Mike was the official duck counter and the race officer and calculated the results.

The first start was better than the regular Friday afternoon Sailability race, because everybody crossed the line together.

Tom won 1st place with Henry as coach giving full assistance. Adrian finished the race in 2nd place with and Rosie and Michelle 3rd.

It was the first time Adrian in a S/H had completed a whole race going around all the buoys, which with a changeable wind which was not easy. Jonathan also in an S/H sadly had to retire after starting well because his tiller broke. Joe helmed with some assistance from Andy as coach and he kept up in the races and was 2nd in the ducks. Rosie helmed the 1st race and Michelle the 2nd, both with no coaching assistance.

Sam won the second race and the duck hunt by collecting the most ducks, with Meg as coach and assistant duck hunter.

We were impressed with these results, because Rosie and Sam have both sailed for less than a whole season.

Many thanks to all the members and volunteers who helped on shore and coached on the water and also to the members who had to delay their sail while we did the course. Especial thanks goes to Mike and Karen who helped me run it and to our chairman Roy for getting soaked by Rosie while she demonstrated the only way to sail an Access is on its ear. He had never thought of that!

Richard Elliott, June 2016

Race Results

ClassNameRace 1Race 2Duck Race
Single HandedAdrian254
Single HandedJonathonRetired - broken tiller
Double HandedRosie & Michelle333
Double HandedSam & Meg4112
Double HandedJoe & Andy557
Double HandedTom & Henry127

Visit to the East Anglia Sailing Trust (EAST) Sat 25th June.

A few pictures of the visit.

Hansa (Access) National TT Northampton round, Sat 18th June

Report by Mike Hulands

A grey day with very variable winds greeted the competitors for the Northampton round of the Hansa (Access) TT.

A total of 11 boats took part:

  1. One Hansa 2.3
  2. Two Access 303 Single Handed
  3. Two Access 303 Double Handed
  4. Six Libertys

All scoring was by individual Fleet – so no handicaps were necessary.

Conditions were “Fluky” with the wind going from dead calm to 10 knots. At least it didn’t rain.

The changing wind direction gave the Race Office, Mike Hulands, a headache and forced the first three races to be Starboard rounding of the marks. The last race was a Port rounding.

The first two races were round a triangular course. After lunch the third race course was a trapezoid, then back to a triangle for the last race.

Liberty Class.

Race 1. The Libertys did 3 laps with the other classes other doing 2.

Lindsay Burns in the 2.3 sailed very well in the light and variable conditions, beating both the 303 double handed boats despite the PY handicap. Liberty 2557 (Paul Phillips) won 22 seconds ahead of 2561 (Tessa Watkins.)

Race 2. Liberty 2561 made the win with 2557 over 1 minute behind in second place followed by 2599 (Chris Emmet) in third.

Race 3. This race saw a change to trapezoid course with shifting wind direction. Wind shift was such that Libertys finished on a reach – in a gust – so at speed.

Less than a boat length separated the first three across the line. A very close finish but 2557 just gained the first (by less than ½ boat length) with 2599 in second.

Race 4. In the Liberty class 2599 gained the win with 2561 in second and 1066 (Monique Foster)in 3rd.

303 Single Handed Class.

In the 303 single handed races only two boats were entered – 2315, Alison Grant and 333 Leslie Philip. 333 won races 1 and 2 then 2315 won races 3 and 4

303 Double Handed Class.

In the 303 double handed races only two boats – 2034, Roy Child and Priscilla (AKA The Admiral and Doris) and 1461, Andy Sheath and Kate Lintott.

2034 Won races 1 and 4 and 1461 won races 2 and 3.

For both of the 303 fleets then, all boats had the same score and ISAF racing rule, Appendix A para 8.2 applied – “Best Recent Score, including discards” – This gave the wins to Roy (DH) and Alison (SH).

The day went reasonably well but courses were not ideal due to the shifting wind.

After the racing the boats were thoroughly washed to comply with the water authority Bio-Security requirements.

Many thanks are due to all the volunteers who helped on the day and Phil and Cath (SI for normal Sailability) for all their help, not forgetting Mike Hulands and Richard Elliott who ran the event.

See the full results table.

Sailability Open Day, Sat 4th June

We had a really busy day.

It was particularly nice to welcome several families who had a child with disabilities.

There were 50 visitors. They all said how much they enjoyed the sailing experience and we look forwrad to their next visit.

Also attending were 14 of our members and carers and 21 volunteers, making a total of 85.

Jenny says: "We had a super open day thanks to so many volunteers turning up so a big thank you to them all."

RYA Sailability Award successes

Rosie Ford - Gold

Karen presents Rosie with her Gold Award.

Congratulations to Rosie Ford who having achieved her RYA Bronze and then Silver awards last year has now completed the tasks necessary to qualify for the Gold 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 Karen Cragg, one of the insructors who has tutored Rosie.

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

Annie Pope - Bronze

Annie receives her award from Richard Elliott.

Congratulations to Annie Pope who has succesfully completed the RYA Sailability Sailing Scheme to Bronze Award level.

Richard Elliott presented the certificate and badge to Annie who has been a very keen pupil in her first season of sailing at Northampton Sailability.

Richard is the senior instructor who with his team of helpers has done much to promote the scheme within our group.

Thank you Richard, and well done Annie!

Sam Ravenscroft- Bronze

Sam Ravenscroft, Graeme Wilson and Meg Elliott

Congratulations to Sam for gaining his Bronze Award under the RYA Sailability Sailing scheme.

Presenting him with his award is Graeme Wilson from Northamptonshire Sport, who will be heading the Special Olympics in the county.

Also shown is Meg Elliott one of our assistant instructors who guided Sam through some of the tasks he had to complete.

Well done Sam, now it's time to start work for your Silver Award.

Sam Ravenscroft - Silver

Sam is congratulated on his Silver Award
by Assistant Instructor Andy Seymour.

No sooner said then done!

Sam has progessed quickly from Bronze to Silver level, so it's the Gold next.

Good work Sam, keep it up

Day Skipper and Yachtmaster Theory - Course successes

We had a successful RYA Day Skipper theory and RYA Yachtmaster theory course in February.

The following people qualified and look forward to putting their new skills into practice on the sea.

Chris Bignall also did the course abroad.

Well done to all of them.

..and many thanks to Jenny for running this course for us.

New Year Social at The George, Brixworth, Sat 16th January.

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

Message from Lesley Just an update to say a very big ‘thank you’ for the gifts given for the ‘bring and buy’ sale and for all the donations into the money pot!

It was a very successful event with lots of attendees on the day where we raised £140 for the RNLI.

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