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Sun Sail

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.

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.

Never too old for new tricks - May 2014
Friday, 02 May 2014 09:01

All At SeaAll at Sea has long had its roots in sailing, but that’s not to say we don’t like to try something new – especially when water is involved!

This month AAS is celebrating National Watersports Month, a fantastic new initiative that’s aiming to get people out on the water in all sorts of ways, throughout the month of May, thanks to hundreds of free events taking place all across the country.

May, of course, is perfectly timed to whet the nation’s appetite for some waterborne action in advance of the summer season, as light nights and hotter temperatures see clubs and centres, beaches and slipways come to life.

With the British Marine Federation already reporting a rise in watersports participation numbers - from 2.8 million adults having a go in 2012 to 3.5 million in 2013 – a further boost across the board is a welcome one. Having more people enjoying time on the water brings many benefits - increased income for the industry, a buoyant secondhand market, and greater competition for the racers amongst us – to name but a  few. The only conceivable downside is the possibility of a queue at the bar afterwards – but that’s something we’re willing to overlook.  

What’s your ‘new horizon’? - April 2014
Thursday, 03 April 2014 00:00

All At SeaIt may be that you’ve been on and around boats for as long as you can remember, or it may be that you’ve only recently stepped afloat. Perhaps you even have yet to do so – in which case we hope All at Sea’s diverse range of stories inspires you to go ahead!

But for the more experienced boaters out there, whenever it was that you took on your very first boating experience, can you remember what it was that motivated you to do so? Why you first decided to give sailing or powerboating a try?

It was a question asked to me this month by a friend as conversation led us to compare our sports; turns out, she has long been tempted to give sailing a go, but has yet to make time in her busy triathlon training schedule to make this happen.

Overlooking this (poor!) excuse, her questions left me pondering long and hard. Having started sailing at the age of 13 at the instigation of my parents - the obvious push factors - it was a tough memory to recall. I guess the prospect of adventuring on our own, across the lake in our bright yellow Cadet, and the fact I was willing to try pretty much anything new and exciting at that age, formed the pull factors.

But that led me to wonder, what is it that’s kept me in the sport? Two decades on and I am just as keen to be on the water as ever before, no matter what boat, where it is, or even what the weather is doing. Is it the challenge of taking on the elements? Stretching my tactical knowledge? Pushing my boat-handling skills? Seeing new places? Meeting new people? Learning new things?

Water water everywhere - March 2014
Thursday, 27 February 2014 09:34

All At SeaJanuary was the wettest on record since 1766. We fear there are many readers who will, unfortunately, be only too able to testify to this. As we suffer what’s looking likely to be the wettest winter ever recorded, our thoughts go to the communities - both coastal and inland - who have been affected by the extensive floods in recent weeks.

Fortunately the AAS office has remained high and dry.

It’s been hugely encouraging to see the response to the flooding from the marine industry, as many commercial businesses and organisations such as the British Marine Federation and the RNLI have sprung into action to help wherever and however possible. We’re pleased to report on some of those endeavours in this issue.

A moment of cheer came also from seeing the images shown by BBC South of the intrepid dinghy sailors who launched their Mirror for a sail through swamped suburbia. The sight of the classic red sails bobbing along between trees and lampposts was a reassuring reminder that there’s none like the British public for making the best of a bad situation!

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