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The Bart’s Bash effect - October 2014
Thursday, 02 October 2014 00:00

October_coverFor anyone taking part in the global Bart’s Bash it was impossible not to be left feeling inspired by the end of the day, whether that was sailing on a yacht on the south coast, a dinghy at an inland venue or, in my case, sailing a borrowed Bosun as the sun set against the backdrop of Canary Wharf at Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre in London.

It was a brilliant evening as a group of old friends came together to enjoy some of the closest yet certainly the most light-hearted racing I’ve done in a while.

Speaking to friends who had sailed elsewhere in Bart’s Bash races to ask about their experience, wherever the venue and whatever the class, the words ‘privileged’, ‘exciting’ and, most of all, ‘fun’ came up repeatedly. It was a day that, simply, just had that effect.

From Olympians to complete novices, this incredible event encouraged so many people, of all ages and abilities, out on to the water,. It was especially great to hear about so many youngsters taking part, particularly when you think that Andrew Bart Simpson is so often remembered for his readiness to help and to inspire young sailors. Certainly, the sense of pride among the young Topper sailors who competed on the same race track as Sir Ben Ainslie, at Queen Mary Sailing Club was great to see. And there’s no doubt that Bart would be delighted to see his four-year-old son Freddie loving every minute of racing the Star at Weymouth.

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Bumper season - September 2014
Friday, 05 September 2014 00:00

latest_issueFrom the adrenaline rush of racing at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, to the staggering spectacle of the Tall Ships regatta - from beginning to end, last month was a whirlwind of all things boating, and we’re delighted to bring you a bumper issue.  

We’re also taking a look ahead this month to the on-water extravaganza that is the PSP Southampton Boat Show, with a special four-page guide. It certainly seems like there’s plenty of excitement in store this year, as organisers are pulling all the stops out to make the show more appealing to visitors and throw off any sceptics. Feature boats, live music and – best of all – more opportunity than ever before to get out on the water and try out new boats and new skills all sounds hugely promising… let’s just hope the sun reappears!

This issue we also report on some inspirational people; from 17-year old Natasha ‘Miss Isle’ Lambert conquering her Sea and Summit challenge, to Keith Burhans, a Paralympian who won the chance to sail on the Volvo 65, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. Despite losing both his legs in a boating accident, Keith still pursues the sport he loves. Geoff Holt reports on page 24.

And it’s not just those overcoming adversity that can inspire, but those determined to try something new. Check out our In at the Deep End feature on page 36, where columnist Georgia Pitt goes back to basics to see how newcomers can get started in sailing.

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All for a good cause - August 2014
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 09:31

latest_issueIt’s impossible not to be impressed by gutsy teenager, Natasha Lambert. Everything about this young lady is admirable - her determination, her positivity and her absolute passion for sailing.

The 17-year old cerebral palsy sufferer - known to her fans as Miss Isle - has set off on her latest challenge, the Sea and Summit Challenge. Following her Channel crossing last year (which gained her the prestigious YJA Young Sailor of the Year Award 2013), this is Natasha’s most daunting mission to date: sailing 430 miles along the coast line before climbing nearly 3,000ft up the Brecon Beacons using a special walking frame.  

Although Natasha is accompanied on board her Mini Transat ‘Miss Isle Too’ by her coach Phil Devereaux, she is effectively sailing solo, with Phil on hand essentially just in case of emergency. The helm and the sails are adjusted using a clever sip’n’puff method, with Natasha completely in control.

From the Solent to South Wales - it’s a phenomenal distance to cover solo for any sailor, let alone using such an intense technique. Natasha has been spending many months planning the voyage, learning about navigation techniques and has even undertaken sea survival training with the RNLI. Her commitment and professionalism are 110 per cent.

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Proud to be British - July 2014
Thursday, 03 July 2014 00:00

latest_issueEarlier this month, AAS was delighted to attend the launch of Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup bid, and we found ourselves feeling very proud to be British.

Not just the big man himself, but every member of Ainslie’s team exuded an unmistakable air of passion and professionalism, and the day left no-one in doubt that if Britain is to see the ‘Auld Mug’ back on these shores again, Sir Ben will be the one to make that happen.

Sparks from the launch have already flown far and ignited excitement amongst sailing fans, the marine industry and the general public. Certainly, Portsmouth is in for an exciting few years should the Ben Ainslie Racing Team HQ get the funding needed to set up there. The possibility of hosting an America’s Cup World Series event here in the UK, too, is welcome news.

If we thought Ben has done wonders for the profile of our sport here in the UK in the past, it’ll be sent off the scale in the three-year run up to AC35. Ben’s bid is far more than just a campaign to win the oldest trophy in sporting history; it is a unique and unrivalled PR boost for the sport, the industry and the country. No wonder then that key supporters, Sir Charles Dunstone and Sir Keith Mills were - in their own words - already on the phone to Ben before the champagne spray had dried off him as he lifted the trophy in San Francisco.

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The Madness of May - June 2014
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 13:54

latest_issueThe past month has seen, sadly, the tragic loss of the four crew of Cheeki Rafiki dominating headlines in sailing and non-sailing media. Our thoughts and sympathies are with their families and friends, who refused until the last to give up hope of their survival.
The spirit of the international boating community also translated into an incredible surge of support, both through online petitioning to re-start the search, and in a practical guise by those boats that were actually able to make their way towards the area and join the search.

Although it was heartbreaking to hear that the hull had finally been found with the liferaft still on board, at least the ongoing efforts of the search teams enabled the certainty of that to be delivered to the families, however nightmarish the conclusion.

The exact cause of the hull’s failing remains speculative, but this sad (thankfully, rare) unfolding of events reminds us all to check our equipment and think carefully about what safety measures we have whenever we set afloat.

Looking ahead
It’s a timely message, as, closer to our shores, May has brought plenty of people out onto the water, with the boating action hotting up, even if the temperatures haven’t necessarily been doing the same. National Watersports Month has seen clubs up and down the country throwing open their doors to visitors, and it seems this initiative has really taken off.

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