The Sailability Multiclass Regatta took a new turn this year with racing taking place at the Olympic and Paralympic sailing venue in Weymouth harbour on the first weekend of July. Sussex Sailability also pushed the boat out taking part this year with a total of five crews – three taking part in Weta trimarans, and two in Sussex Sailability RS Venture keelboats. Very many thanks to the Disabled Sailors Association and Graeme Webb for the loan of Wetas that enabled us to have a Weta class at the event.
This was one of the largest festivals of disabled sailing ever, with over 100 sailors taking part in all types of colourful Hansa Access boats, a keelboat league, Weta and Challenger trimarans, 2.4mR, SKUD and RS Venture keelboats.
Competitive sailing kicked off on Saturday morning with all the boats competing together in the Ken Ellis Pursuit Race. While it was a perfectly blue-skied July morning, the winds were on the light side. This was a challenge for the (theoretically) quick boats that struggled to catch up those that had started ahead. Nonetheless there was some tight boat-on-boat racing. Graeme and Catherine led the Weta fleet despite a close encounter with the windward mark. And John and Declan in an RS Venture fought to the last leeward mark to keep their place over Chris and Tony stalking them in a Weta.
The sea breeze did make an appearance on Saturday afternoon. This was was more to the Weta’s liking and gave some fabulous spinnaker rides on the plane. For the only time in the weekend, this gave those of us on three hulls the opportunity to leave the keelboats behind.
With a total of seven RS Ventures taking part in the Multiclass regatta, this was the biggest gathering of RS Ventures that has yet taken place. The Sussex Sailability RS Ventures took more points for style than speed, with some particularly fine looking synchronised sailing.
Sunday dawned cloudy and breezy, but it didn’t last. As the cloud burned off the wind went with it. Races were started, abandoned and repositioned several times before a light sea breeze settled in and we could get round a course.
While the Sailability Multiclass Regatta was mostly about taking part, we were racing and there were prizes. By entering the three Weta boats in its class, Sussex Sailability cunningly snapped up first, second and third places (although possibly not in that order).
Thank you to everyone from RYA Sailability, Chesil Sailability and Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy for making this festival of disabled sailing such a success