Challenger sailor Val Millward was crowned 2013 Multiclass Champion of Champions as the final curtain came down on the seventh annual RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta held at Rutland Sailing Club this weekend (10-11 August 2013).
RYA sailability multiclass Regatta.
Disabled and able-bodied sailors from as far afield as Holland battled it out in the four classes: Access, Access Liberty, Challenger and Skud 18.
Racing began on Saturday with each class competing in four races in breezy conditions. On Sunday the sunshine came out and sailors enjoyed perfect conditions as they competed in the final two races of the regatta with prizes up for grabs for winners in each class.
The prestigious Ken Ellis Trophy was awarded to the leading boat across all fleets and it was Val Millward from Rutland Sailability who was revealed as the overall Multiclass Champion and winner of the Ken Ellis trophy in the official prize giving.
Val said: 'I was absolutely over the moon when I discovered I had won the Ken Ellis trophy. I had to put up a good fight to win the Challenger class although I was sure that the others could have beaten me! To come first in the biggest fleet and win the overall award is just fantastic.
val millward - RYA sailability multiclass Regatta.
'I think it’s important for those who enjoy sailing as much as I do take part and support the Sailability Multiclass Regatta, it’s a great event.'
Sailability enables people with a disability to experience sailing and to sail regularly and the Multiclass Regatta brings together sailors across the whole spectrum of abilities.
Wilma van den Broek travels from Holland each year to take part and this year finished first place in the Access Liberty Class.
Alex Hovden a member of the British Sailing Team Podium Potential Squad is also a regular competitor and has been attending the regatta since he first started sailing. He finished first place in the Skud 18 class and comes to the multiclass to meet new people. 'It’s a brilliant event and a fantastic venue for sailing. It’s great to catch up with Sailability and to find out what Sailability is doing'.
As well as celebrating the achievements of those who take the top prizes the regatta is also a fantastic opportunity for less experienced racers to hone their competitive talents and compete alongside, and learn from, more experienced crews.
Nichola Brown and Roy Emerson travelled down from Scaling Dam in the North East of England to take a look at the Paralympic Skud in action but were offered a boat by Rutland Sailability and found themselves taking part in their very first regatta.
'Originally we were just going to come and spectate, we’re new to sailing so wanted to watch' Nichola explains. 'I’m still very nervous so for me to get out on the water in an unfamiliar environment is a huge achievement -I only had three panic attacks!' Nichola and Roy were presented with a special award in the prize giving to recognise their achievements.
Access 2.3: Ian McNair, Rutland Sailability
Access 303 W 1P: Monique Foster, Frensham Pond
Access 303 W 2P: Chris Emmet/Malcolm Kirk, Rutland Sailability
Access Liberty: Wilma van den Broek, WV Zeewolde
Challenger: Val Millward, Rutland Sailability
Skud 18: Alex Hovden/Clare Michelmore, Papercourt Sailing Club
Ken Ellis Trophy: Val Millward
RYA Sailability Manager Debbie Blachford said: 'The Sailability Multiclass Regatta is a fantastic showcase of the talent we have within the disabled community. It helps people improve their racing skills, make new friends and inspires people to take the sport to the next level.
'It’s also been absolutely fantastic this year to see newcomers taking part for the very first time sailing alongside Paralympic hopefuls. A special thank you also goes to the volunteers who worked tirelessly over the weekend to ensure the event ran smoothly from start to finish'.
For more information about RYA Sailability, visit the RYA website and click on the Sailability link at the bottom of the page.