You shall go to the ball

RYA’s Sail for Gold Ball to take place in London on 13 June

Saturday January 14th 2012, Author: Lindsey Bell, Location: United Kingdom

2012 will be a landmark year for British sailors in their quest for medal glory on home waters, and the RYA’s Sail for Gold Ball will help ensure GBR’s medal contenders are sent off to Weymouth and Portland in the best possible position this summer.

Held in every Olympic year only, the Sail for Gold Ball is the traditional rousing send-off for Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic-bound sailors, and the stage is set for a fitting celebration at the London Hilton on Park Lane on Wednesday 13 June 2012.

Considered the most significant social event in the Olympic and Paralympic classes sailing calendar, the Ball will bring together the sailors selected to compete for Team GB and ParalympicsGB in 2012, as well as some of Britain’s past sailing medallists and special guests from the worlds of commerce, politics, the arts and the media.

Funds raised from the Ball also help to support future generations of Skandia Team GBR sailors along the way to achieving their medal-winning ambitions.

At a reception for Ball sponsors and patrons held at the London Hilton this week, also attended by triple Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie and the newly-selected 470 team of Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell, it was announced that the Sail for Gold Ball 2012 will be title sponsored once again by Peter Harrison, a staunch supporter of British sailing.

Peter Harrison commented: “I’m absolutely thrilled that the Olympics are in Great Britain in 2012. I have supported every Sail for Gold Ball since 2000 and so this is the fourth time, and I’m thrilled because our sailors have been some of the best performers and it’s a sport in which we do so fantastically well. Being in home waters this time I’m hoping will mean we do that little bit better.

“I’m absolutely sure the Games is going to be a wonderful experience for everybody, and I’m sure the Ball will once again be a wonderful occasion and celebration as we wish our sailors the very best of luck.”

Michael Shepherd, General Manager of the London Hilton on Park Lane where the Ball will be hosted, said: “We are absolutely delighted that we have the opportunity of once again hosting the Sail for Gold Ball here at the London Hilton on Park Lane.

“The London Hilton has been supporting sailing and Team GBR for more than 20 years and we’re really delighted that we have an opportunity again in 2012 as London is hosting the Olympics here this year. In fact, the London Hilton on Park Lane is the headquarter hotel for the International Olympic Committee, so we are very much involved with the Olympics and are really delighted that we can support the sailors in their effort to really demonstrate with great pride what they can do for Team GBR.

“I’m a keen sailor myself and all the team here at the London Hilton are so energised in being able to support not only the sailors, but also be part of what is going to be the greatest Games and the greatest party in the world.”

Over 4,200 guests have attended the quadrennial event since 1992, with Event Director Gavia Wilkinson-Cox confident of delivering an extra-special occasion in a unique year for British sport.

“We’re hugely proud to be putting together such an auspicious event on behalf of the RYA,” she explained. “This will be the sixth Sail for Gold Ball, and with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of the Olympics and Paralympics being here in Great Britain, myself and the Ball team are determined to make it an evening that’s never forgotten. We’re grateful for the continued support of Peter Harrison in making this terrific celebration possible, and all our sponsors and patrons for their generosity.”

Opportunities exist for companies or individuals to support the Sail for Gold Ball 2012, with details of hospitality, auction and prize packages, as well as ticket ordering details, available via the Ball website at

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