Woolverstone Project

The RHYC founded the Woolverstone Project in 1993, the year of the Club's 150th Anniversary. The Project was the brainchild of the then Commodore Mrs. Margaret Howard.
"There should be", she said, "an organisation within the Club which would provide facilities for sailing for any person with any disability whatsoever, be it physical or sensory  Its creation will also be a memorable way to mark the Anniversary."
Because the Project found it necessary a year later to become a registered charity, it was not able to remain as a sub committee of the RHYC, and so was elected as an associate Member.
The first trustees were all members of the RHYC. Lord Belstead the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk became its first Patron. He was an experienced and respected Dragon sailor and a member of the Aldeborough Yacht Club.
The Woolverstone Project has subsequently gone from strength to strength, providing sailing for the disabled from the RHYC and at Alton Water. The Project was honoured with a visit from HRH The Princess Royal at the RHYC in 1999, and in 2003 was proud to receive the Queen's Golden Jubillee Award for its services to the community through voluntary work in providing sailing facilities to those with all forms of disability. Members received the award  from HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace.  Johnty Dickinson, an original Trustee and tireless worker for the Project was created an MBE in 2004 for his work.
That it is such a success in its field is a worthy tribute to those RHYC members who conceived the idea and had the drive to establish it in 1993. The Club takes great pride in these achievements and continues to support the Woolverstone Project in its dedication to those who would otherwise be unable to go sailing.

www.woolverstoneproject.org.uk

Woolverstone Challenge Cup – May 9th 2015
The Seamark Nunn Woolverstone Challenge Cup is a unique new inter-club event for east coast sailing clubs. The event took place on Saturday May 9th and was organised by the Woolverstone Project (www.woolverstoneproject.org.uk) – an RYA Sailability and Training Centre based at Alton Water and at Woolverstone on the River Orwell.
East coast clubs were invited to send two adults and one cadet to represent the club and the Woolverstone Project provided the boats. This created a completely level playing field as the boats provided were Hansa/Access 3.03s for the adults and 2.3s for the cadets. These boats are sailed by crews seated facing forward using joystick-style steering. The daggerboard keels weigh 30kg making the boats very stable ensuring that people with disabilities can participate without handicap. None of the competing able-bodied sailors had sailed these boats before and one of the aims of the event was to give them an opportunity to experience them. To level the playing field even further Kemp Sails generously donated new sails for each boat – their first outing was the event itself.
The event was hosted by the Royal Harwich Yacht Club on the River Orwell and the day dawned ominously – grey, cloudy and very breezy. Nevertheless the first race began only slightly behind schedule. The adults managed one race, but the cadets struggled as a nasty squall with gusts of 32 knots swept through the fleets. This forced a postponement for 45 minutes or so. It would appear that the OOD had not made the appropriate offerings to the weather gods!


Twelve clubs were entered and with a fleet of nine boats, each club had one bye from the four races planned. So, following the postponement, the second race started with three new crews who hadn’t yet sailed and six of the crews from the previous race. The wind remained gusty with some further, though less violent squalls and while the first three adult races were run, the cadet postponement continued. Eventually, with a more consistent breeze, the cadet fleet went out as well and managed one race.
The original plan had been for a final medal race for the top eight clubs who would race against the Woolverstone Project Patron – Paul Heiney , and Kevin Curtis – a Paralympic gold medallist from the 1996 Atlanta games.  Time constraints meant that this final race did not occur, but Paul Heiney presented the prizes to the winning teams. The results were:
Adult fleet


Position

Club

Sailors

Points

1

Waldringfield SC

Chris Fish & Bob Whitehouse

4

2

Orwell YC

Adam Fuller &  Cameron Harris

6

3

Felixstowe Ferry SC

Sam Rowell & Andy Robinson

10

4=

Tollesbury SC

Greg Bartlett & George Rogers

11

4=

Walton & Frinton YC

Charles Penfold & Martin Jenkins

11

6

Slaughden SC

David Pegg & Will Webb

14

Cadet Fleet


Position

Club

Sailors

Points

1

Slaughden SC

Finnian Anderson

4

2

Royal Harwich YC

Harry Wallhead

6

The success of the event was in no small part due to generosity of sponsors. These included Kemp Sails, RS Sailing, All Clear Insurance, Harwich Haven Authority and various local Suffolk Rotary Clubs. Raffle prizes were provided by Fox’s Chandlery and Adnams and the trophy was sponsored by Seamark Nunn. Thanks to all these contributions and the generosity of the clubs entering, the project received a welcome boost in their fund-raising drive for a Wheelyboat to enable a wider range of disabled people to get on the water.


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