‘Sailability’ 18’ Skiff 2005 Inland National Championship
The event promises to be a superb spectacle. 18’ Skiffs are the formula one of dinghy sailing, the lightening fast, three handed boats and are seen as a pinnacle within the sailing world, with highly competitive Grand Prix Series held in Europe and Australia. Farmoor Reservoir will provide the perfect arena for short course crash and burn action right in front of the clubhouse for the spectators. With the UK taking the top three European slots in the recent World Series event in Sardinia last month racing is expected to be very tight. This will be the fourth event of a series of five held in the UK this year and competitors will race for the RMW Challenge Plate, awarded by 18’Skiff enthusiast and supplier, Richard Woof of RMW Marine.
In addition to the races, Oxford Sailing Club is laying on entertainments, including a Ceilidh band, throughout the day and every one is welcome to attend and spectate.
“Racing 18’s at Farmoor is going to be an exciting challenge with the short course ‘supercup’ style format” said Peter Barton from the ‘Barron & Smithers’ Skiff Team, “the enthusiasm from Oxford SC has been fantastic and it is great that the event is assisting Sailability”.
The entry fees for competitors are going towards the construction of a pontoon which has been specially designed for Oxford Sailability to help disabled sailors get into and out of their boats.
Oxford Sailability has been operating at Farmoor Reservoir for the last 23 years, helping children and adults with disabilities to sail. However, the facilities at the reservoir for launching disabled sailors are limited and in September 2002, a generous grant from Thames Water (who own and manage the reservoir) allowed Oxford Sailability to commission the design of a pontoon to provide disabled access.
Now, with the help of Thames Water and the Oxford Sailing Club, Oxford Sailability is encouraging local people, businesses, schools and clubs to get directly involved and buy a plank for £200 or half a plank for £100. These planks will be used to construct the pontoon and it is hoped that work will start from the end of 2005.
Luke, aged 17, has cerebral palsy. Still at school and hoping to go on to university to study physics, he has been sailing at Farmoor for three years and has already won a silver medal at a national disabled sailing championship. “I noticed an advert for Oxford Sailability and thought that sounds fun” he explains. “So, I came down to have a look and everyone was really helpful. They put me out on the water straight away and I’ve loved it ever since.”
“The Pontoon Project will give all the sailors here a lot more independence and it will make it easier for us to get into our boats. It will also increase disabled sailing activity at Oxford so people from other clubs are more likely to come and race.
Once the pontoon is constructed, it will be owned by the Oxford Sailing Club. For more information on the project and details of other fundraising events, please contact Bill Proctor of the Oxford Sailing Club on 01235 815943 or Liz Sale at Thames Water on 01189 744596.
From Oxford the fleet travels to Travuemunde on the Baltic coast of Germany at the end of July to contest the third event in the 2005 European Grand Prix series