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Entry open for GJW Direct SailFest 2015

by Brenda Hoult 28 Feb 2015 08:45 GMT 23-25 May 2015

Entry is now open for the 2015 edition of GJW Direct SailFest. With an early heads-up, the keen Devoti D-Zero fleet have already got entries coming in for their inaugural national championships, to be held as part of the SailFest regatta.

SailFest gives the opportunity for dinghy racing at all levels - fun close to shore and bigger courses out in the Solent. GPS trackers on all the competing boats feed back live tracks to shore for a live commentary. The racing, as ever, is the focal point of the event and already the Rooster 4000, Devoti D-One, ISO and Cherub classes have SailFest on their calendar, alongside the D-Zeros.

This year, GJW Direct SailFest has developed yet further to offer a choice of sailing areas with experienced sailors on a big course out in the Solent. Newly-experienced sailors from local clubs and less confident friends and family of the outer-course racers are warmly invited to test the water at perhaps their first inter-club event, knowing they are sharing the inner course with like-minded compatriots, coaches never far away.

All entrants can register for free entry to the Icon Cup - a match racing event running throughout the weekend and with a £1000 prize fund. More details soon.

Enter here, now: sailfest.sailracer.org

The established SailFest event was initially spawned as a summertime mixed fleet dinghy handicap event but was immediately welcomed by classes as an opportunity to have their fleet results extrapolated from within the regatta. With a format combining sailing and shore-side activities the organisers came to Calshot for the first time in 2014 to take advantage of the fantastic activity facilities (including climbing walls and velodrome) at a great sailing venue with on site accommodation, catering, bar and a stone's throw from the New Forest.

Features:

  • Competitive dinghy racing - 3 days of racing on a choice of inner or outer courses
  • Match racing - demonstrations, training, heats and a final with a prize fund of £1000
  • Water-sports tasters in the sheltered Calshot Creek
  • Family launching for small craft in the Creek whilst racers are on the water
  • Manufacturer demonstrations boats available to trial
  • Indoor display area for local clubs and marine trade
  • Indoor activities - climbing, archery, velodrome cycling
  • Live coverage via GPS tracking

British Sailing, the association of the BMF representing the interests of any BMF member involved with sailing, have decided to work with GJW Direct SailFest this year to create a Solent-central On the Water event, communicating the wealth of opportunity there is to start watersports in the area. On the Water events are the BMF portal to introduce the local community with a passing interest in water-sports to take a step nearer to getting afloat in water craft of any kind - from kayak and SUP, dinghy to yacht, even radio-controlled yachting. With the backdrop of fun racing at all levels of expertise, trials and taster sessions will be available throughout the weekend, in and on a variety of water-craft.

The Solent area perhaps represents the extremes of the actual accessibility of sailing v. the perception. Despite marinas of yachts, cruisers and racers, crying out for crew and a plethora of dinghy clubs along the shore hungry to take new recruits out sailing, many locals see our sport as elite, expensive and inaccessible.

With topics such as this communication of the accessibility of our sport increasingly raised on virtual forums and sailing club bars countrywide, Calshot will host the Sailing Forum on the eve of SailFest, Friday 22nd May. With presentations from industry influencers and workshops aiming to address the issues faced, this represents an opportunity to bring together forward thinkers in sailing, face to face - those at grass roots level who are passionate about our sport.

The organisers (via brenda.hoult@sailracer.org) welcome approaches from local sailing service and industry members, local clubs and organisations regarding products, boats and services available locally to get people out On the Water: Exhibiting on shore / Demonstration boats / Coaching / Media contacts / Photography / Facilitation of trial sails to novice visitors.

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