Please select your home edition

RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta at Rutland Sailing Club

by Karenza Morton, RYA 15 Aug 2010 21:49 BST 14-15 August 2010

Champion of champions is crowned

Access Liberty sailor David Durston was crowned 2010 Multiclass Champions of Champions as the curtain came down on the fourth annual RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta at Rutland Sailing Club today (Sunday 15 August).

After 10 individual class prizes were determined on the opening day yesterday, day two was all about the race for the prestigious Ken Ellis Trophy as almost 80 sailors in some 60 boats contested the two-race Trophy general handicap series.

Each sailor’s score was determined using the Average Lap method and corrected for the Portsmouth Yardstick (PY) number for the class.

And it was David, a member of host club Rutland Sailability who also sails with Swindon-based Whitefriars Sailing for the Disabled, who was revealed as the overall multiclass champion and the winner of the Ken Ellis Trophy at the official prizegiving.

David, who also finished at the front of the Access Liberty fleet on Sunday having settled for second spot behind Rutland rival Clare Andrew on Saturday, admitted he was flattered to land the biggest prize of the weekend.

He said: “It is a real honour to have won the Ken Ellis Trophy, there is a lot of history behind the trophy and so I am delighted to receive it, it will go right in the middle of the mantelpiece!

“I had an inkling before prizegiving that I could have won it because I knew I’d won the Liberty fleet for the day and with the PY score for the boat I thought there would be a chance but it was still a very nice surprise when my name was announced.”

Sailability is the RYA’s charitable arm enabling people with a disability to experience sailing and sail regularly and the Multiclass Regatta brings together sailors across the whole spectrum of abilities in a range of different boat classes for a festival of competitive Sailability action. It is now the biggest event of its kind in the world.

Mother Nature threw almost every condition possible at the sailors over the two days on Rutland Water from hairy squalls and thunderstorms for the class series’ on Saturday to lighter breezes and bright sunshine for the handicap series.

Reflecting on his weekend of racing David added: “I had never sailed in anything like what we had on day one it was pretty interesting at times! But I was pleased with how I dealt with it although I was even more pleased with how I sailed on Sunday.”

The British weather, meanwhile, also provided a rude welcome to Glen Gordon and Len Pope who, representing the British Virgin Islands Sailability, were the Multiclass Regatta’s first ever overseas guest crew.

The pair’s coach Alison Knights Bramble said: “When we left the British Virgin Islands on Tuesday it was 95-100ºF air temperature and 85 ºF in the water! The boys have never been to England before and I kept expecting them to say they were cold but they didn’t complain once. When they came off the water they were absolutely buzzing and have thoroughly enjoyed their racing.”

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.

Frensham Pond’s Monique Foster, the winner of Saturday’s Access 2.3 Series, admitted this element of the Multiclass Regatta is one of its biggest draws.

She said: “You not only get to see what other boats you may like to try but you can actually have a go as well, and if you have any doubts that you may not be able to sail a certain boat when you see someone else sailing it it takes all that doubt away.

As well as the sailors who converged on Rutland, around 85 volunteers, most based locally at Rutland Sailability plus a number of RYA Sailability Regional Organisers and helpers from the country’s many different Sailability groups, were also on hand to assist with the running of the regatta and help the sailors on and off the water.

Debbie Blachford, RYA Sailability Manager, said: “It is a significant operation to get everyone on and off the water as safely and as efficiently as possible and the fact so many people are so willing to give up their time makes it such a special event and the sailors always show their appreciation by turning up in large numbers.

“Self esteem is one of the biggest things the sailors get from events such as this and when you see the sailors come off the water really enthusiastic and chattering away all the effort that goes into making it happen is really fulfilling for the competitors and volunteers.”

At 20 Rutland’s Lewis Crack was one of the youngest rookies competing this weekend and with visual and hearing impairments he was aided throughout the regatta by volunteer crew Carol Canning.

He said: “This has been a very good event and Carol was really nice, her instructions were really clear and I was able to follow them well. I felt really competitive and thoroughly enjoyed being part of a fleet that was really strong.”

The first RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta was held at Rutland Sailing Club in 2007 and was the first time so many different fleets had met and raced together.

With its aim of helping people improve their racing skills, making new friends and perhaps inspiring people to take the sport to the next level, the regatta reflected Sailability’s foundation stone philosophy of integration and reinforced the fact that once in a boat and racing everyone is equal on the water.

There are currently no fewer than 130 RYA Sailability sites in the UK. For more information visit

2010 RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta class winners’ results:

1. 2.4 mR – Iain Stowe (Grafham Water)
2. Challenger Gold – Graham Hall (Rutland Sailability)
3. Challenger Silver – Bob Bellamy (Grafham Sailability)
4. Challenger Bronze - Tony Lawton/Heike Conroy (Burghfield)
5. Artemis – Lucy Hodges/James Merrick (Blind Sailing)
6. Laser Stratos – Glenford Gordon/Lenford Pope (British Virgin Islands Sailability)
7. Access 2.3 – Monique Foster (Frensham Pond)
8. Access 303 (one-person) – Hugh Lansdowne (Tideway Sailability)
9. Access 303 (two-person) – Craig Nairn/Ian McNair (Rutland Sailability)
10. Access Liberty – Clare Andrew (Rutland Sailability)

1. 2.4 mR – Iain Stowe (Grafham Water)
2. Challenger Gold – Graham Hall (Rutland Sailability)
3. Challenger Silver – Pauline Shaw (Grafham Sailability)
4. Challenger Bronze - Tony Lawton/Heike Conroy (Burghfield)
5. Artemis – Lucy Hodges/James Merrick (Blind Sailing)
6. Access 303W – Tessa Watkiss (Frensham Pond Sailability)
7. Access 303S – Robert Boyd (Devon Sailability)
8. Access Liberty – David Durston (Rutland Sailability/Whitefriars)

Ken Ellis Trophy – David Durston (Rutland Sailability/Whitefriars)

Related Articles

Challengers at the RYA Multiclass Regatta
One unique competitor had both electric mainsheet winch and electric steering Thirteen Challengers were ready to take part in the RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta held during the weekend 6-7 August at Rutland Sailing Club with substantial support from Rutland Sailability. Posted on 10 Aug
Sign up for the RYA U25 Para Sailing Camps
Offering young disabled sailors the chance to attend four development and selection camps Following World Sailing's announcement that the U25 Para World Championships will debut in the Netherlands this summer, the RYA is offering young disabled sailors the chance to attend four development and selection camps. Posted on 9 May
Join the RYA Para Sailing Hub
Sailors of all ages and abilities pledge their support for the para racing community Sailors of all ages and abilities pledged their support for the para racing community, as the RYA launched a brand-new support network, aimed at increasing racing opportunities for disabled people in the UK. Posted on 11 Mar
RYA Para Sailing Hub to be launched
Increasing racing opportunities in the UK At the RYA Dinghy and Watersports Show the RYA is launching a brand-new support network for the racing community aimed at increasing racing opportunities for disabled people in the UK and supporting sailing's reinstatement in the Games. Posted on 23 Feb
UK's first truly barrier-free boating weekend
Disabled sailing opportunities this May in Portsmouth Disabled people will have the opportunity to take a ride on a powerboat or enjoy a relaxing sail around Portsmouth Harbour and the Solent thanks to the collaboration between two of the U.K.'s truly accessible boating organisations. Posted on 21 Feb
Getting out of isolation and back out on the water
First sailing adventure in 2021 since Covid-19 UK based charity Oceans of Hope UK are delighted to announce our first COVID safe and socially distanced sailing event since lockdown for people with Multiple Sclerosis took place at the end of April. Posted on 21 May 2021
Virtual RYA Sailability Conference a huge success
More than 200 delegates came together at the weekend for a chance to regroup Keynote speaker and global ambassador for disability sport, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, inspired all those in attendance by reflecting on her life in sport and politics and how disabled people are more vocal and stronger together. Posted on 17 Feb 2021
Funding for sailing projects tackling inequality
The £150,000 of National Lottery Funding was awarded to the RYA. Some 17 Sailability and OnBoard venues throughout England will receive individual grants of up to £10,000 for projects that aim to tackle inequalities in sport and help reduce the negative impact of COVID-19. Posted on 1 Dec 2020
RYA Sailability: From Lockdown and Beyond
Sailability clubs and centres have gone through eight months of upheaval From closing completely to re-opening under strict restrictions, Sailability clubs and centres, like so many sports organisations, have gone through eight months of upheaval. Posted on 12 Nov 2020
RYA Sailability release guide to autism & boating
Volunteers and instructors across the UK can now access new guidance Volunteers and instructors across the UK can now access new guidance designed to help ensure that people with autism have the best possible experience when getting out on the water. Posted on 24 Aug 2020