Creating waves in 2020
Here we are, the end of 2020. Our mantra this year has been, ‘when we can, we will’ and as you can imagine our students did. This year has taught us a lot about the sustainability of our project and ourselves. It’s taught us that even when so many factors are against us, our steps may be small, but we can still make progress.
This year, our mini-tonner Riot has competed in 18 races. Incredible. Then there’s EROS, IF, Scaramouche and our fleet of dinghies, who have all done too many days afloat to keep track of. Time on the water is a big part of our project and we must thank Ian Walker from the RYA for his guidance and advice, with his input we have achieved more than we could have imagined back in March. Our students saved 10 Toppers from being scrapped and have given them a new lease of life. Our mini tonners are not only looking smart, with the help of industry support they are better optimised for racing
2020 has been the year of the small keelboats and dinghies to enable social distancing, but let’s remember Scaramouche, she’s been out too. With the inclusion of Amanda Mochrie, we put together our first all-female crew and Scaramouche completed the ASTO Small Ships Race followed by a Solent Winter series race. Boom!
The conditions for both races were light, this gave the girls a true feeling of what sailing Scaramouche ‘properly’ is like; with spinnaker hoists, drops and gybes. Greig City Academy students Natalia and Mirandolina have helped drive this through. The season came to an early end, due to COVID-19, but we have big plans for this team on our return.
The boys focus has been on dinghy racing, including some at national level races. Kai, Jaydon and Christopher have joined the UKLA, with Azat and Tyler joining the GBR420 class. Back in October, they trained and raced in Weymouth at the WPNSA. This was their first ‘proper’ dinghy race, so they set themselves a real challenge racing in the national qualifiers! They were disappointed that the Youth Nationals and then the UKLA Inlands were cancelled due to bad weather – but this was the right decision by the organisers. Throughout lockdown they have worked on their fitness and preparation ready to compete in 2021. Kai has significantly benefited from the experience, going out to a racecourse for six hours against 60+ Lasers was always going to be a steep learning curve. On both days he beat only one boat in the first race, four in the second and then 20+ in the third. That’s good progress, and he is very excited for the future.
In December we competed in the Selden Sailjuice Winter Series, another big steppingstone and we will look for more events over the winter to keep the momentum going, when we can.
Dinghy racing is a new (and huge) undertaking for our project given that it focuses a lot of resources on a small number of sailors, but we feel this is more than worth it. As well as the sailing we also have a restoration focus. Not only does the project provide a great learning platform it also helps with our environmental aims by recycling boats which would have otherwise been scrapped.
In early December, Jon Holt, our incredible founder, was named the YJA MS Amlin ‘International Sailor of the Decade’ a wonderful accolade for someone who has dedicated the last seven years of their life to getting others out on the water. He was shortlisted alongside Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Sir Ben Ainslie, Dee Caffari and the late Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson. Dan Snow, a supporter of our project from the beginning presented Jon with the trophy at the school in front of some of the rising sailing stars from Greig City Academy. A truly wonderful day.
We are now in the Christmas holidays and Greig City was approached to see if we could transport some of the elderly residents of Haringey to the vaccination centre, our students were happy to help. So, whilst in Tier 4, sailing may be on hold but helping others isn’t.
What’s coming in 2021?
Early next year, Jon Holt will be running a series of webinars, to share his knowledge. He will talk about how the project came about and why, the benefits, working alongside other organisations and how to increase inclusivity in the sport of sailing. The webinars are for all stakeholders in education and sailing who are keen to develop sailing in schools as a long-term programme. The sessions will begin by considering the starting point for schools, their students and how they are likely to respond to different initiatives. It’s for trusts and organisations looking to further promote the sport of sailing and those who wish to learn from Greig City Academy. Please connect with us on social media or @ScaramoucheST or on email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
On the water preparations will get underway for our third Rolex Fastnet Race campaign in August. We expect to continue dinghy sailing throughout the winter and we have been preparing the squibs, so the girls can get out by themselves in teams of two and further their experience.
Cowes Week has named us as their official charity, so save the date 31st July to 7th August 2021. We have plenty to look forward to there.
We would like to wish all our followers a wonderful Christmas, thank you to everyone who has supported us in 2020 with a special mention to RORC who named us as their official charity of Race the Wight.
Follow us @ScaramoucheST